Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Riyadh and Washington feel embarrassed as Yemeni forces' success in destroying Saudi Arabia's oil facilities proved that the US missile defense shields are inefficient and useless.
“It’s embarrassing that the basis for accusing Iran over the attack on Aramco is just the point that [they] do not want to admit that the Yemeni Army has the military capability to conduct missile and drone raids,” Rouhani said in a meeting with a number of American media directors and senior figures at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
The Iranian president said those accusing Iran of conducting the attack have no real assessment of the Yemen forces’ military progress, and “have closed their eyes and only speculate”.
“The radar and defense weakness of the United States’ huge equipment in the alleged trajectory of these missiles and drones can no way be denied,” Rouhani said, and added, “The Yemenis have, in fact, humiliated the United States and warned Saudi arms suppliers.”
Last Saturday, Several Yemeni drones targeted Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
Washington and Riyadh insist, without providing any reliable evidence, the group was incapable of launching such an elaborate assault, and accused Iran of being the perpetrator. Tehran, however, has rejected the accusations of involvement in the attack on Aramco.
Tehran has also sent an official memo to Washington through the Swiss embassy, which represents the US interests in Iran, to dismiss allegations of involvement in the Yemenis’ attacks against the Saudi oil facilities and warn against any reaction which harms the Iranian interests.
The attacks shut down about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, and cut the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day. A return to normal production could take months, not weeks, according to reports.
US President Donald Trump had on several occasion called on Riyadh to increase its military spending, with an eye on more weapons sale to the “rich” kingdom. He had told Saudi King Salman that Riyadh has “trillions of dollars” and could pay its military bills.
“With us they are totally safe. But we don’t get what we should be getting,” he stated in late September 2018 – an exaggerated claim that is ridiculed by experts as the strikes by inexpensive Yemeni drones were a major embarrassment to the Saudis, as well as the United States, which has supplied the Kingdom with most of its air defense hardware.
Before his presidency, Trump had also described Saudi Arabia as “a milk cow” which would be slaughtered when its milk runs out.
The surprise attack has already caused oil prices to jump. Market and industry experts believe that the incident could stoke already-flaring tensions in the Middle East, driving crude prices higher amid growing fears of supply shortages. The consequences of the strikes led to uncertainty in the oil market as it’s unclear when the giant company can restore operations to normal.