Iran has dismissed US claims of Tehran’s role in Yemen’s attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil plants as “maximum deceit” to hide the utter failure of the “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.
“To pin such action on Iran is in line with the maximum deceit approach that they have adopted following their failures,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during a press briefing on Monday.
The attack on Saturday saw Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters fly 10 combat drones to the gated oil city of Abqaiq, partially destroying the world’s largest refinery.
The attack cut the kingdom’s daily oil output by 5.7 million barrels, which is around half of its overall exports. That’s a staggering five percent of global oil demand, which has led to a rally in oil prices.
Following the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran and said there was no evidence Yemen could carry out the operation.
Mousavi said while Iran supports the people of Yemen and their rights, such claims simply do not hold any weight. He said Yemenis won’t just sit idly by as Saudi Arabia keeps destroying their nation.
“Yemen has been struggling with a bloody war and the Saudi-led coalition has committed widespread atrocities against the Yemeni nation with full support from Western countries,” he said. “It is only natural if Yemenis and their army react to these atrocities.”
Mousavi said the US claims are aimed at making Saudi Arabia and other “dependent” countries further suckle on the United States.
“The dependent nations remain dependent and those who are supposed to milk them make such statements to give these dependent nations a sense of security,” the Iranian diplomat said. “Such statements are baseless and condemned.”
The United States, under President Donald Trump, has been running a campaign of maximum pressure against Iran since he abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
More than a year later, after his failure to force Iran into renegotiating the deal, Trump and other US officials have been sending mixed signals about their willingness to sit down for talks with their Iranian counterparts.
Iran rules out Trump-Rouhani meeting at UN
Mousavi on Monday made it clear that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had no plans to meet with Trump during his upcoming trip to New York to attend this year’s United Nations General Assembly.
“Neither is this meeting on our agenda nor I think it will happen in New York,” he said. “As Mr. Rouhani said, we do not meet just for the photo op and any meeting should have a certain agenda and results that are palpable.”
He also repeated Iran’s previous stance that if Washington wanted to return to the negotiating table it should first return to the nuclear deal and then end its “economic terrorism” against Iran.
Even then, all talks with Tehran would happen through the JCPOA, Mousavi said.
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei echoed the stance, saying in a separate press briefing that that Iran is not willing to talk to a “dishonest” interlocutor under sanctions.
“If the current situation continues, there is no chance the two presidents could meet,” he told reporters Monday. “From Iran’s perspective, ending all sanctions that the US has imposed on Iran after leaving the JCPOA is a key condition to establish constructive diplomacy.”
He said removing sanctions was Iran’s “natural right” rather than a precondition for talks.
“We have already negotiated once under sanctions and will never negotiate again under sanctions,” Rabiei said.
“Only when Trump does what is necessary and regains our trust and respects the Iranian nations” will Iran return to negations through the existing P5+1 channels, he added.