Attack on Saudi oil facility came from direction of Iran, not Yemen

A saudi man inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

A saudi man inspect a screen showing stock prices at ANB Bank in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

"We've got a beady eye on this and we're prepared to pile back in to the Japanese yen after last week's repositioning", Weston said, adding that while trade was calm, the strikes presented another geopolitical "what if" to vex markets.

Hours earlier, senior USA officials said satellite imagery and other intelligence showed the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has chose to pour cold water on any suggestion that the Houthis were competently responsible.

Oil prices surged almost a fifth at one point following the strikes on two plants, including the world's biggest petroleum processing facility in Abqaiq, which knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

"The vulnerability of Saudi infrastructure to attacks, historically seen as a stable source of crude to the market, is a new paradigm the market will need to deal with", said Virendra Chauhan, a Singapore-based analyst at industry consultant Energy Aspects.

Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran.

The incident ratcheted up the war of words between Washington and Tehran at a time when Donald Trump was seemingly softening his stance towards Iran. "And the answer is there is no answer".

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said there were indications that cruise missiles were used, reported Reuters news agency.

Trump has said his goal is to force Iran to negotiate a tougher agreement and has left open the possibility of talks with President Hassan Rouhani at an upcoming United Nations meeting. The sole question here is whether Trump takes of the root of madness held out by Graham, or holds out for a meeting with Rouhani at the UN General Assembly.

"I think it's safe to say that the Houthis don't have the capability to do a strike like this without Iranian assistance".

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US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said in an interview with US television channel CNBC last Thursday that a meeting of Trump with Rouhani in NY was not yet on the agenda.

Regional tensions have escalated since Washington quit an worldwide nuclear deal and extended sanctions on Iran.

The attack, which knocked out more than half of the Saudi oil output, may force the U.S.to tap into its own oil reserves to keep the markets well supplied. Iran's foreign ministry rejected his claims as "blind and futile".

The attack and ensuing threats of retaliation had the region on edge Sunday, with heightened fears of a conflict - Iran and its proxies against the Saudis and U.S. Yemen, by contrast, is hundreds of miles to the south.

The drone assaults led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of crude oil.

Iran says it is not behind Saturday's drone attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia, denying accusations from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Tehran was responsible for "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply".

Pillar, who's now a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, said "further attempts to escalate on either of those war fronts offers no reason to believe that they would be any more successful than the wars have been up to this point".

Accepting Iranian responsibility for such attacks has been an easy matter for many on the Hill.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the US allegation that it was responsible as "pointless".

While Iran has denied blame for the attacks, its Yemeni allies have promised more strikes to come.

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