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Saudi Arabia urges ‘utmost pressure’ to end Iranian ‘aggression’

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid and Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf upon arrival in Jeddah, on June 24, 2019. (Ron Przysucha/U.S. State Department)
September 27, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Saudi Arabia has urged the international community to apply “utmost pressure with every tool available” to end what he called “aggression” by Iran, its bitter regional rival.

Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told the United Nations General Assembly on September 26 that cutting off Tehran’s financial resources would be the best way to end what he labeled as Iran’s flagrant violation of international law.

The foreign minister repeated the accusation that Iran was responsible for the September 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities, which temporarily knocked out more than 5 percent of daily global crude output.

The United States, France, Britain, and Germany have also blamed Tehran for the attack.

“We know very well who stood behind this aggression,” Assaf said.

“We have known that regime for 40 years. It is good at nothing but masterminding explosions, destruction, and assassinations, not only in our region but also throughout the world.”

“Utmost pressure with every tool available should be applied to end the terrorist and aggressive conduct of the Iranian regime,” he added.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran has denied involvement, while Sunni-led Saudi Arabia has invited UN investigators to assess where the strikes were launched from.

Speaking to reporters in New York on September 26, a day after addressing the General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said those countries accusing Tehran of being behind the attack on Saudi Arabia should “provide the needed proof.”

“If you do have any evidence or documentation please do make them available to me,” Rohani said, adding that the United States, France, Britain, and Germany “should stop” supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the United States last year withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and began reimposing sanctions against Iran.

Earlier on September 26, the United States said it was deploying a battery of Patriot missiles, four Sentinel radar systems, and about 200 support personnel to Saudi Arabia, its close ally, in the wake of the attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told the General Assembly that his country was reaching out to Arab Persian Gulf states, saying they face a common threat from Iran.

Katz asserted that Iran was the main problem threatening stability and security in the region and that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the attack on the Saudi installations.