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China slams as ‘irresponsible’ US accusations of Iran involvement in Saudi oil attack

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's eastern province on September 14, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

China's Foreign Ministry has censured as “irresponsible” the US accusations that Iran was behind the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s key oil installations.

"Pondering who is to blame in the absence of a conclusive investigation, I think, is in itself not very responsible,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Monday.

“China's position is that we oppose any moves that expand or intensify conflict," she added.

The spokeswoman also urged relevant parties to exercise restraint and “avoid taking actions that bring about an escalation in regional tensions.”

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters conducted drone strikes on Saudi Arabia’s two oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais on Saturday. The attack led to a halt in about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, causing a record surge in oil prices.

The United States used the opportunity to hold Iran responsible for the raids without providing any evidence.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in a tweet that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and that “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” adding that Washington would ensure "Iran is held accountable for its aggression."

Tehran, however, dismissed the allegations as sheer deceit and part of Washington's new strategy of dealing with its failures.

President Donald Trump has said that the United States is “locked and loaded” for a possible response to the attack, awaiting word from Saudi Arabia as to who they think the culprit is.

The Yemeni military has assumed full responsibility for the attack, saying there is no use in accusing Iran, Iraq or Hezbollah of having a hand in the attack.

Amid US allegations that the drone attack probably originated from Iraq or Iran, Pompeo made a phone call to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the premier's office said in a brief statement on Monday. The statement did not specify what was discussed.

Iraq has also rejected claims that its territory was used to launch the anti-Saudi attack.

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