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US Officials Say These Images Show Iran Was Behind ‘Unprecedented’ Oil Field Attack

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Iran was behind a Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities that sent oil prices spiking, according to multiple Trump administration officials, who are using satellite imagery to make their case.

On Saturday, multiple coordinated strikes damaged Saudi oil refineries.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen immediately took credit for the attack, which they said was launched from drones.

U.S. officials have pushed back against that narrative as they build a case that Iran was involved. Officials released satellite photographs showing 19 points of impact at the Saudi facility that was attacked, The New York Times reported.

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The images show that the damage was consistent with an attack launched from either Iran or Iraq, which are to the north and west of the site, rather than the south in Yemen.

Officials who gave several media outlets a background briefing also said the impact points prove that there were not simply 10 drones used, as the Houthi rebels claimed.

“You can’t hit 19 targets with 10 drones like that,” the official said, according to CNN.

During the briefing, one official said the attack appeared to use drones and cruise missiles “both and a lot of them,” which would be beyond the technological capacity of the rebels.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi denied Iran’s responsibility for the attack.

“Such blind accusations and inappropriate comments in a diplomatic context are incomprehensible and meaningless,” he said, adding, “even hostility needs a certain degree of credibility and reasonable frameworks, US officials have also violated these basic principles.”

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Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short said Monday that he’s “quite confident” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will release more evidence to document Iran’s link to the attack.

“There’s no doubt that Iran has been a malign actor on the stage here and has been supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, but I think there’s certainly greater evidence that he’ll be sharing that directly ties these attacks to Iran,” Short said.

Short also addressed language used by President Donald Trump in a Sunday night tweet.

“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.

Short said no attack is imminent.

“I think that locked and loaded is a broad term and talks about the realities that we’re all far safer and more secure domestically from energy independence,” Short said.

“This is not the 1970s oil embargo. It’s not 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. We’re now a net oil exporter which means that the American market is much better protected.”

Oil prices rose instantly after the attack, rising as high as 18 percent, but retreated from that level, CNN reported. However, the oil price spike sent stocks diving on Wall Street.

Trump immediately took action to stabilize prices and noted the U.S. has insulated itself from the price shock of the damage to the Saudi facilities.

Pompeo has already directly accused Iran of launching the attack.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [foreign minister Javad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” he tweeted.

One commentator said the action is linked to U.S. sanctions against Iran, which are squeezing the nation economically.

“Iran wants to show that instead of a win-lose contest, Iran can turn this into a lose-lose dynamic for everyone,” Ali Vaez, head of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, said.

“Plausible deniability is a trademark of Iran’s pushback strategy,” he said.

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