Rouhani: Blaming Iran for Aramco strike ‘groundless’

September 24, 2019

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani on Monday criticized Britain, Germany and France - known as the European troika or E3 - for issuing a joint statement backing a claim by the United States that Iran is to blame for the September 14 drone attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities, saying the statement is based on "groundless blame game".

Rouhani made the remarks during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

On Monday, the leaders of France, Germany, and Britain strongly condemned attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, and pinned the blame on Tehran.

"It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation," the statement read, according to Press TV. "We support ongoing investigations to establish further details," it added.

A few hours before releasing the statement, Macron had warned that "one must be very careful in attributing responsibility" for the Aramco attacks.

"There are clusters of clues, but this bombardment is a new military event that changes the region's ecosystem," he said, stressing that caution was needed in apportioning blame for the attack.

The statement came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leveled the same accusations against Iran while flying to New York.

Johnson said UK believes Iran was behind the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities and added that London would work with Washington and European allies to de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

Tehran has categorically rejected claims that Iran was behind the attacks.

Rouhani and Macron also discussed efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Rouhani also held a separate meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during which the top officials discussed security at borders and fight against terrorism.

The Pakistani prime minister praised Iran’s supports for the people of Kashmir.

Rouhani also met separately with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discussed expansion of cooperation and de-escalation of tension in the region.

NA/PA

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