Putin says no evidence Iran was behind attacks on Saudi oil plants

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that there was no evidence that Iran was responsible for an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure last month and that the United States had not presented any proof of Iran’s role.

France tried to set up a meeting between the leaders of Iran and the United States after the attack but failed to because Tehran wants Washington to remove its sanctions, Putin said at an energy conference in Moscow.

“We condemn these (attacks) but we are against shifting the blame to Iran because there is no proof of that,” Putin said, adding that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had personally told him Tehran had nothing to do with the attacks.

Last month’s attack briefly reduced Saudi Arabia’s oil output by half, causing a spike in oil prices, but Riyadh has been able to quickly restore production, calming the market.

Russia maintains close ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Putin on Wednesday credited the Moscow-Riyadh cooperation with stabilizing global energy prices.

U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed Iran for the attacks but Tehran has dismissed the accusations, suggesting that Washington was seeking a pretext to attack Iran.

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iran called the U.S. claims “maximum lies” and threatened American forces in the region.

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