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The latest on the Saudi oil attacks

Trump picks words carefully when questioned about Iran
01:10

What you need to know

  • What we know: Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
  • What the US is saying: President Trump has insisted he doesn’t want a war with Iran, all the while talking up America’s military might
  • About the attack: It knocked out almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity. Oil prices skyrocketed after the attack, but sharply dropped today. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the Kingdom would aim to ramp up oil and gas production as fast as possible.
  • Our live coverage has ended, but scroll through the posts to read more.
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Attack perpetrators "will be brought to justice," Saudi official says

The perpetrators of the weekend attack on Saudi oil production facilities “will be brought to justice,” Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Tuesday.

He said Saudi Arabia would work with the United States on the investigation.

“We will know who did this,” he said.

Here's how much oil Saudi Arabia is aiming to produce after the attack

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said the Kingdom would aim to ramp up oil and gas production as fast as possible following a drone and missile attack that took out half of Saudi oil production.

Saudi Arabia aims to bring gas production “back to the levels it was at within one month.”

Iran's foreign minister says the "US is in denial"

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the United States is “in denial” if it thinks Yemen wouldn’t strike back at its aggressors.

“US is in denial if it thinks that Yemeni victims of 4.5 yrs of the worst war crimes wouldn’t do all to strike back,” he said on Tuesday. “Perhaps it’s embarrassed that $100s of blns of its arms didn’t intercept Yemeni fire. But blaming Iran won’t change that.”

The Iranian foreign minister went on to note the duality of the criteria applied by Washington when it comes to the war in Yemen.

“The US isn’t upset when its allies mercilessly BOMB babies in Yemen for over 4 years—with its arms and its military assistance,” he said. “But it is terribly upset when the victims react the only way they can—against the aggressor’s OIL refineries”.

“Ending the war=only solution for all,” Zarif tweeted.

Germany's Angela Merkel on Saudi oil attack: "We prefer diplomatic process"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government favors diplomacy rather than military intervention as a way to defuse the rising tensions in the Middle East.

She added that the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), known as the Iran deal, is a “building block” that the international community needs to go back to.

“I have explained that we Europeans believe that the deal to stop Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to,” Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday. “But there is also a long list of other burdens coming from Iran like the ballistic missiles program and its engagement in Syria. So there is a lot to discuss.”

“We prefer a diplomatic process, which we are trying to push ahead. But in recent days tensions in the region rose and Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation and long-term solutions are only possible through a political process,” she added.

Merkel said Berlin is awaiting the findings of the investigation into the attack before it assigns any blame.

“With regard to the exact course of events in the attacks on Saudi Arabia, which are of course condemnable, we are awaiting the findings of the parties involved [in the investigation],” she said when asked if she also blamed Iran for the incident.

“I cannot see a final picture here, but of course everything has to be seen in the context of the very tense situation in the region,” Merkel added.

US official: Saudi Arabia recovered circuit boards from one of the weapons used in the strike

Saudi Arabia recovered fully intact circuit boards from one of the weapons used in the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, according to a US official with direct knowledge of the latest information.

Both drones and cruise missiles were used in the attack. The official added that the Saudis and the US expect to be able to trace to Iran for the point of origin of those boards and possible flight data.  

The official told CNN that the weapon recovered was one of the missiles that missed its target completely and landed in the desert intact. That is where circuit board was retrieved.

The official pointed out the attack was sophisticated, specifically designed for plausible deniability by virtue of the route the missiles took. It also was a route that avoided the areas where the US has highest concentration of US intel assets that might have detected the flight. 

Some context: CNN reported earlier today that the missiles, according to the investigators’ current assessment, flew over southern Iraq and through Kuwaiti airspace before reaching their targets. Kuwait on Monday announced it had launched an investigation into reports of sightings of drones or missiles shortly before the Saudi targets were hit. A CNN source said the missiles would have avoided traveling over the Persian Gulf, where US and Saudi radar systems are strongest. The Kingdom’s air defense systems are focused on the Gulf.

France has no evidence to say where the attack drones came from

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that his country has no definitive evidence on where the drones in the Saudi oil facilities attack came from.

“At this stage, France does not have evidence which would allow us to say that these drones came from one place or another, and I do not know if anyone has such evidence,” Le Drian said at a news conference in Cairo on Tuesday.

The French foreign minister welcomed the Saudi decision to involve “international experts and the United Nations” in the investigation, adding that France supports initiatives aiming at deescalating tensions in the region.

“The only thing I say forcefully is that France takes a de-escalation strategy and any act that would go against that, would be a bad act for the situation in the region and I think the Saudi initiative to establish the facts is good,” he said.

White House "can't say definitively" Iran is responsible

The Trump administration “can’t say definitively” that Iran was behind an attack on an oil facility on Saudi Arabia, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters, adding that officials are still in the process of making the case to the American people.

“The President is dealing with all of our partners and allies in the region, and we want to make sure the evidence clearly points to a culprit here. In all likelihood, as the President said, it was Iran,” Gidley said. “But when we have a definitive on that we’ll let you know.” 

Gidley said President Trump is “being cautious” in his assessment.

“If he were banging the gong today about Iran being the culprit definitively without presenting the case to the American people, everyone would be saying he’s a warmonger,” he said.

In terms of retaliation, Gidley said he was not “going to take anything off the table” or “put anything on the table.” Ultimately, it’s a decision for the President, he said.

Some context: In recent days, President Trump has contradicted himself and several others in his administration on if he would meet with Iran without preconditions. Just last week, Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the President would meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions — but Trump later announced in a tweet he would not. In an exchange with CNN, Gidley is now claiming that preconditions to talks have always been a change in Iran’s behavior.

“The President has been very clear as well that we’re not going to have conversations with Iran until they change the behavior,” he said on the White House lawn. “They’ve got to change behavior if we’re going to have conversations because right now, the situation is untenable.”

When pressed, Gidley repeated that the President’s, “preconditions were set pretty clearly, that they have to change their behavior before any conversations. The maximum pressure campaign… that is what remains to be the preconditions.”

“Our position has been clear on that,” he repeated.

Oil prices are dropping after Monday's spike

Oil prices dropped sharply Tuesday, following Monday’s surge that sent shock waves around the world.

US oil futures dropped 4.6% to $59.98 per barrel, following a Reuters report that Saudi Arabian oil production would return to normal within two to three weeks. Investors took that as a positive sign about the impact of the weekend’s attacks on global oil supply.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, is down 5.8% at $64.99 a barrel. On Monday, oil prices shot up more than 14%.

Lindsey Graham: US should consider striking Iran oil refineries

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the US should consider striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the Saudi attack.

Graham, who is the Senate Judiciary chairman, said there should also be a regional response to the attack.

Pelosi requests briefing for representatives on Saudi oil attacks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has requested a briefing for all House members on the Saudi Arabia oil attacks and Iran, a spokesperson for the speaker said.

About Iran: Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Yesterday, President Trump told reporters that “it’s looking like” Iran was behind the attacks — but suggested it was too early to say for sure. 

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has rejected the accusation that Iran was behind the attack.

Kuwait tells armed forces to be on high alert following Saudi oil attacks

Kuwait’s defense minister called on the country’s armored forces on Tuesday to be on high alert and “to exercise the utmost caution and vigilance” following the weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, according to Kuwait’s state-run media KUNA news.

Sabah Khalid Al Sabah, during a meeting with high-ranking security commanders, called on Kuwait Armed Forces “to redouble their efforts to defend the country from any possible danger.”

The defense minister reiterated Kuwait’s condemnation of the Saudi oil attacks.

He added that Kuwait will stand with Saudi Arabia against anything that “could affect its security, stability and the safety of its people.”

Oil prices spiked up the most in a decade

Oil prices spiked Monday after the attack on the heart of Saudi Arabian oil production.

US oil futures jumped 14.7%, settling at $62.90 a barrel. It was the biggest spike since January 2009. Futures of Brent crude, the global benchmark, settled up 14.6% at $69.02 a barrel.

Gasoline futures, meanwhile, were up more than 13%, which isn’t boding well for American drivers.

What this means for gas prices: Experts say consumers may begin to notice higher prices soon. But here’s some good news — gas prices probably won’t climb high enough to substantially hurt the US economy.

There's a "high probability" that Saudi attack launched from Iran, source says

Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the weekend attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base in Iran close to the border with Iraq, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

The attack involved cruise missiles flying at low altitude, the source said, and their trajectory was from the north of the Abqaiq complex, which was struck by more than a dozen projectiles in the early hours of Saturday morning. The source added that there is absolutely no indication that these missiles came from a southern area and especially not one as far as Yemen.

The missiles, according to the investigators’ current assessment, flew over southern Iraq and through Kuwaiti airspace before reaching their targets. The trajectory would imply that the launch point of the attack was being masked.

Kuwait on Monday announced it had launched an investigation into reports of sightings of drones or missiles shortly before the Saudi targets were hit.

What we know so far about the Saudi oil attacks

The investigation into attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities continues. Here’s what we know so far about them:

  • What happened: Coordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities knocked out half of the country’s oil capacity — more than 5 million barrels a day. Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the attack came from an Iranian base, according to a source.
  • Who’s behind this? Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they’re responsible for the attacks, but a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said that Iranian weapons were used in the oil field attack.
  • Where the US stands: President Trump said it looks like Iran was behind the attack but suggested it was too early to say for sure. Trump also insisted that he does not want war with Iran.
  • How it’s affecting oil: On Monday, US oil prices spiked. It was the biggest spike since January 2009. 

GO DEEPER

Source: 'High probability' Saudi attack launched from Iranian base near Iraq
After the Saudi oil attacks, all options carry great risk
Attacks have disrupted 5% of the world's oil production. Here's what you need to know
Oil shock hits a global economy that's already on shaky ground
US oil prices had their biggest spike in a decade after Saudi attack disrupts global supply

GO DEEPER

Source: 'High probability' Saudi attack launched from Iranian base near Iraq
After the Saudi oil attacks, all options carry great risk
Attacks have disrupted 5% of the world's oil production. Here's what you need to know
Oil shock hits a global economy that's already on shaky ground
US oil prices had their biggest spike in a decade after Saudi attack disrupts global supply