On September 18, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry held a press conference to display material evidence allegedly proving Iranian involvement in attacks on two oil facilities. “Despite Iran's best efforts to make it appear so, their collaboration with their proxy in the region to create this false narrative is clear,” said Saudi military spokesman Colonel Turki al Malki. Riyadh concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a sophisticated assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia. Al Malki said the attacks were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran” but stopped short of explicitly accusing Tehran for the attack. The Saudis said they were still “working to know exactly the launch point.”
Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and cruise missiles purportedly used in the September 14 attacks. Al Maliki said data from the weapons linked them back to Iran. He told reporters that both drones and missiles were launched at Abqaiq and that cruise missiles struck the Khurais facility. Riyadh said eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were used in the attacks, with three missiles falling short of their target. The cruise missiles had a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), according to al Maliki, which meant they could not have been fired from inside Yemen. The Saudi government also presented video footage of a drone striking from the north.
Iran denied involvement in the attacks and implied that they were launched from Yemen. The Houthis, a Yemeni group backed by Iran, had claimed credit for the strikes on the two facilities. Abqaiq, the kingdom’s largest oil processing facility, is one of the most important oil infrastructure sites in the world. It had the capacity to process seven million barrels of oil per day. Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, could produce some 1.5 million barrels per day. The attacks suspended production of 5.7 million barrels per day—about 6 percent of global oil supply—according to Saudi Aramco. The following are Saudi statements on the attacks.
Saudi Arabia Defence Ministry displays 'material evidence' at press conference, claiming it proves Iranian involvement in attacks against two major Saudi oil production plants.— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 18, 2019
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
"The kingdom is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression."
—September 14, 2019, in a phone call with President Trump according to Saudi Press Agency
Military Spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki
"The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location ... The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed.”
—September 16, 2019, at a press conference in Riyadh
Ambassador to the United Kingdom Prince Khalid bin Bandar
"Almost certainly it's Iranian-backed. We are trying not to react too quickly because the last thing we need is more conflict in the region."
—September 18, 2019, in an interview with BBC
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman
“We don’t fully know what happened,” he said. “Once we know who and why and the cause, accusations will be leveled."
—September 17, 2019, in a statement according to CNN
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"Initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons. Investigations are still ongoing to determine the source of the attack."
—September 16, 2019, in an official statement according to USA Today