US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo: Twitter/@SecPompeo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday described strikes on key Saudi oil installations as an "act of war", reiterating that it was an "Iranian attack". "This was an Iranian attack," he told reporters on his plane before landing in the western city of Jeddah, calling it "an act of war". He further added that there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq, amid media speculations that the drones may have been fired from there.
The big statement from Pompeo came hours after Saudi Arabia Defence Ministry, in a press conference, displayed parts of the drone the struck its oil installations and claimed that the strike was "unquestionably" sponsored by Iran.
Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that strikes on its oil infrastructure came from the "north" and were sponsored by Iran, but added the kingdom was still investigating the exact launch site. "The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," defence ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki said. "We are working to know the exact launch point."
Meanwhile, Iran has sent a diplomatic note to the United States, denying any role in attacks on Saudi oil installations and with a warning that it would respond to any action. The formal memo sent on Monday through the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Tehran, "emphasised that Iran has not played any role in this attack", the official IRNA news agency said.
It said Iran "denies and condemns claims" by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it was behind the attacks. "It was also emphasised that if any actions are taken against Iran, that action will face an immediate response from Iran and its scope will not be limited to just a threat," IRNA said.
The message was delivered on Monday afternoon, it reported, after Trump said Iran was likely to have been behind the attacks on its regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia. Saturday's attacks on Saudi energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oil field halved the kingdom's oil output.