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Putin: US yet to produce evidence of Iran involvement in Saudi attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with Russian Defense Ministry top officials and representatives of the Russian Defense Industry, at Bocharov Ruchei residence. (Klimentyev Mikhail/TASS /ZUMA Press/TNS)

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that U.S. intelligence agencies have yet to give Saudi Arabia proof that Iran was involved in attacks on the country’s oil industry.

Speaking at an energy conference in Moscow on October 2, the Russian leader said that Riyadh is still waiting for an investigation into an attack on two major Saudi oil facilities on September 14.

“U.S. intelligence services are serving the country’s foreign policy, but they have not given any evidence,” Putin said as he took questions during the conference.

“We have spoken with the Saudi administration, and I have personally spoken with the crown prince, and, as I understood it, Saudi Arabia is seeking irrefutable evidence of the involvement of a particular country in those events, but no one has given such evidence so far. Let’s be guided by facts instead of emotions,” he added.

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Saudi Arabia blames Iran for the attacks and has said that while it is pursuing a peaceful solution, the kingdom would regard it as “an act of war” if an ongoing investigation determines that the “missile and drone” attack was launched from Iranian territory.

President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials also have blamed the attacks on Iran, with whom U.S. tensions have spiraled since Trump withdrew the country from a 2015 nuclear deal that offered international sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program and announced a “maximum pressure” policy targeting Tehran’s leadership.

Tehran has rejected all accusations that it was involved in the strike.

Iran-backed Shi’ite Huthi rebels fighting in nearby Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks on the longtime U.S. ally, which has militarily supported Yemen’s government.

Many observers regard the Yemeni conflict as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite-led Iran.