Saudi oil attacks: Drones and missiles were launched from Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin Alexei Nikolsky  Russian Presidential Press and Information Press Office  TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin Alexei Nikolsky Russian Presidential Press and Information Press Office TASS

Three diplomats said Emmanuel Bonne, a Middle East expert who has steered Macron's diplomacy, met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Jeddah on Monday.

Britain and Germany on Tuesday urged the global community to forge a "collective response" to the drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil installations, which U.S. officials have blamed on Iran.

The fires led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, as Saudi officials said part of that would be offset with stockpiles. "Nearly impossibly so as there are zero appetites in the world for a military conflict with Iran", said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for the Asia-Pacific at OANDA.

Iran's supreme leader announced on Tuesday that "there will be no talks with the U.S.at any level" - remarks apparently meant to end all speculation about a possible U.S. -Iran meeting between the two countries' presidents at the United Nations later this month.

Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying this is the position of the entire leadership of the country and that "all officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe" this.

"The President will always consider his options", Conway said when asked if Trump would still sit down with Rouhani under current circumstances.

It could take months for Saudi production to resume, sources briefed on Aramco's operations have said.

But that hinges on some US flexibility in applying sanctions including waivers for European allies buying Iranian oil.

Iran has denied carrying out the attacks, with President Hassan Rouhani saying on Monday that the attacks were a outcome of the Houthis "exercising their legitimate right of defence".

AAA says that President Donald Trump has authorized the release of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to help ease concerns throughout the process.

Those tensions have been boiling ever since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran's 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed Iranian nuclear activities and the USA re-imposed sanctions that sent Iran's economy into freefall. He also re-imposed and escalated sanctions on Iran that sent the country's economy into freefall.

Washington also wants to pressure Tehran to end its support for regional proxy forces, including in Yemen where Saudi forces have been fighting Houthis, who are allegedly backed by Iran, for four years.

Oil prices dropped sharply on Tuesday after a top Saudi Arabian source told Reuters production could be fully back on line within weeks, quicker than initially thought following weekend attacks that halved the kingdom's output.

To reverse Iran's retaliatory moves and launch broader talks covering its ballistic missiles and regional behaviour, as Trump demands, Macron has suggested a multi-billion-dollar credit line to enable Tehran to ease an economic crisis wrought by US sanctions that have decimated Iran's vital oil trade.

Oil prices surged almost 20% on Monday after the attack on the world's top oil exporter, which has been the supplier of last resort for decades.

President Donald Trump said the U.S. had reason to believe it knew who was behind the attack and assured his Twitter followers that "we are. locked and loaded" depending on verification and were waiting to hear from the Saudis as to who they believe was behind the attack and "under what terms we would proceed!"

"I'm not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to", he said. The U.S. already has the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier battle group in the area, as well as fighter jets, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and air defences.

Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was behind the strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry, but stressed he did not want to go to war.

The US has reportedly identified locations in Iran from which drones and cruise missiles were launched against major Saudi oil facilities on Saturday.

Riyadh asked global experts to join its investigation, which indicates the attack did not come from Yemen, the foreign ministry said. A Saudi military alleged "Iranian weapons" had been used.

Tensions between the USA and Iran relations had, until this weekend, appeared to be lessening after months of brinkmanship and posturing.

"Otherwise, no talks will happen. with the Americans", he said. "Neither in NY nor anywhere" else.