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US Blames Iran For Aramco Attack; Trump Hints At Military Strike

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The U.S. Government blamed Iran for attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil plants, with President Donald Trump hinting at the possibility of a military strike on the Islamic nation. However, the Iranian foreign ministry dismissed the allegations.

"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump tweeted Sunday in apparent reference at Iran, which is supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have been fighting a five-year-old war with Saudi Arabia.

Trump said he has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied". He added that he informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States.

Air raids using drones Saturday set on fire the Abqaiq plant, the world's largest oil processing facility, and the massive Khurais oil field, both run by state-run Aramco oil company. The Saudi oil giant said it was a terrorist attack with projectiles.

Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco President and CEO, said the situation is under control. No one was injured in the incident, and work is underway to restore production, the company said in a statement.

The weekend attacks were the biggest carried out by the Houthis on Saudi oil resources. Oil production was slashed by 5.7 million barrels per day after the attack. It cut down six percent of the global oil supply, and led to oil prices surging more than 10 per cent Monday.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer of oil.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was no proof the "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" was launched from Yemen despite the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in the war-ravaged country claiming they were behind Saturday's air strikes.

"The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression," Pompeo said on Twitter.

Iranian foreign ministry responded to the allegation, saying, "Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless." Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi termed it as a pretext for "future actions" against the Islamic republic".

'Having failed at max pressure, Sec Pompeo's turning to max deceit," Pompeo's Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif said on Twitter.

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