Iran blasts Europe's 'ridiculous' charges over attacks on Saudi

Reuters , Tuesday 24 Sep 2019

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen at the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 20, 2019. REUTERS

Iran on Tuesday rejected "ridiculous" allegations that it carried out this month's attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, after the leaders of France, Germany and Britain backed US conclusions that Tehran was responsible.

"These allegations, which lack evidence, are based solely on a ridiculous rationale that 'there is no other possible explanation'," Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have, to various degrees, blamed Tehran for the air attacks on the kingdom's Abqaiq plant and the Khurais oil field which knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.

Iran denies responsibility, and the attacks have been claimed by Yemen's Iranian-back Huthi rebels.

But in a joint statement on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also pinned the blame on Iran.

"It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack," they said in a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The three countries, which remain party to a nuclear deal with Iran despite the withdrawal of the US last year, urged Iran to engage in dialogue and "refrain from choosing provocation and escalation".

They said they remained committed to the 2015 agreement and urged Iran to roll back steps it has taken since May to reduce its compliance with the deal.

The clerical regime has resumed higher level enrichment activities and installed more advanced centrifuges than allowed under the deal, in response to the accord's failure to deliver sanctions relief.

A German official said Tuesday that Merkel was planning to meet separately at the UN with US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

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