Boris Johnson this morning pointed at Iran for the drones that struck Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, the first time the UK has assigned blame after the attack on 14 September.
Johnson said that Iran was likely responsible for the attack, which took out about half of state producer Saudi Aramco’s oil production, while causing oil prices to rocket.
“The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible,” the Prime Minister said.
Johnson’s finger-pointing comes after both Saudi Arabia and the US blamed Iran for the attack. The US said this weekend it will send “defensive” troops to Saudi Arabia.
“We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to deescalate tensions in the Gulf region,” Johnson said.
“Clearly if we are asked, either by the Saudis or by the Americans, to have a role then we will consider in what way we could be useful,” he said.
Iran has in turn shrugged off the blame, saying that the attack came from Yemen’s Houthi fighters, who have been bombed by a Saudi-led coalition for years.
The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, this morning a British official said that claim was unlikely as the attack was too sophisticated for the group.
“It is implausible it wouldn’t have been authorised by the Iranian government,” they said.
Oil prices skyrocketed as much as 20 per cent in the days after the attack. They have since given back some of those gains as the Saudis said that production will come back online sooner than expected.
As Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s top oil suppliers, the attack wiped out around five per cent of global output.
The price of Brent crude is up around 1.1 per cent this morning.