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Iran warns of ‘immediate response’ to any US action over Saudi attack

World News | Published:

Iran’s president and foreign minister could skip next week’s high-level meetings at the UN as the US has yet to issue them visas, reports said.

Hassan Rouhani

Iran has warned the US that any action against it after an attack on Saudi oil installations will “immediately” be met with a response from Tehran, its state-run news agency has reported.

Iran’s president and foreign minister also may skip next week’s high-level meetings at the United Nations as the US has yet to issue them visas, IRNA reported.

The UN meeting had been considered as an opportunity for direct talks between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Donald Trump amid a summer of heightened tensions and attacks after America’s unilateral withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

However, the attack in Saudi Arabia and hardening comments from Tehran suggest such talks are increasingly unlikely.

US Iran
(PA Graphics)

Iran sent a note through Swiss diplomats on Monday reiterating that Tehran denies being involved in the Saudi attack, IRNA reported.

“If any action takes place against Iran, the action will be faced by Iran’s answer immediately,” IRNA quoted the note as saying.

IRNA separately reported that Iran’s first delegation for the annual UN event had not left Tehran due to not having visas. Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was due to travel to New York on Friday, with Mr Rouhani following on Monday, according to the agency.

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As the host of the UN’s headquarters, the US is mandated to offer world leaders and diplomats visas to attend meetings there, but as tensions have risen, the US has put increasing restrictions on Iranians like Mr Zarif.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is travelling to Saudi Arabia for meetings after Saturday’s attack on a Saudi oil field and the world’s largest crude oil processing plant.

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Saudi officials separately planned to share information about the weapons used in the attack they allege are Iranian.

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Saudi Arabia also said on Wednesday that it had joined a US-led coalition to secure the Middle East’s waterways amid threats from Iran, while Mr Rouhani told Saudi Arabia it should see the attack as a warning to end its years-long war in Yemen.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the oil attack. The US accuses Tehran of being behind the assault, while Saudi Arabia has said “Iranian weaponry” was used. Iran denies that.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency carried a statement Wednesday morning quoting an unnamed official saying the kingdom had joined the International Maritime Security Construct.

Australia, Bahrain and the UK had already joined the mission.

The coalition aims to secure the broader Persian Gulf region. It includes surveillance of the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s oil travels, and the Bab el-Mandeb, another narrow strait that connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden off Yemen and east Africa.

Smaller patrol boats and other craft will be available for rapid response. The plan also allows for nations to escort their own ships through the region.

The US blames Iran for apparent limpet mine explosions on four vessels in May and another two in June sailing in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, something Tehran denies. Iran also seized a British-flagged oil tanker and another based in the United Arab Emirates.

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