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Russia exonerates Iran over attack on Saudi oil

Russian President Vladimir Putin says there is no evidence that Iran was responsible for an attack on Saudi oil facilities last month.

Mr. Putin told an energy conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the United States had failed to provide any proof of Iran’s role in the drone and missile strikes.

France tried to set up a meeting between the leaders of Iran and the United States after the attacks but failed to because Tehran wanted Washington to remove its sanctions, Mr. Putin said.

“We condemn these (attacks) but we are against shifting the blame to Iran because there is no proof of that,” the Russian leader asserted.

He added that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had personally told him Tehran had nothing to do with the September incident, which was followed by a US troop reinforcement in the Gulf region.

The attacks briefly reduced Saudi Arabia’s oil output by half, causing a hike in oil prices, although Riyadh has since been able to restore production.

Moscow maintains close relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

 In his Wednesday speech, Mr. Putin credited the Moscow-Riyadh cooperation with restoring stability to world oil prices.

The US and Saudi Arabia both reject claims by Yemen’s pro-Iran Houthi rebels that they attacked the Saudi complex, insisting instead that Iran is responsible. Tehran has continued to deny the charge.

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