U.S. assessment blames Iran for Saudi tankers attack

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Commenting on the attack, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Falih said on Tuesday the attack caused a fire, now contained, and minor damage at one pump station, but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products, Reuters reported. Al-Falih also stressed that export and extraction of oil had not been halted, the agency reported.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in the Yemen war to bolster the internationally-recognised government's efforts against the Huthis in March 2015.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam said Tuesday the strikes are a clear message to the Saudi Kingdom. The official added that Saudi Aramco will assess the damage and fix the plants.

On Tuesday, armed drones attacked two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi authorities.

The pumping stations reportedly targeted lie west of the capital Riyadh, at Dawadmi and Afeef.

Two of the four commercial vessels that were targeted by "acts of sabotage" near the UAE's territorial waters were from Saudi Arabia, while the other two were from the UAE and Norway, reported Al Arabiya's correspondent.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.68 per barrel, up 64 cents or 1.05%.

One of the pumping stations that was hit was about 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the Yemeni border.

Iran's supreme leader claims that enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels would not be a hard task for the country - the latest threats from Tehran as tensions roil the region amid the unraveling of the nuclear deal.

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"If they (Iran) do anything, it would be a very bad mistake", Trump warned at the White House.

On Monday, a USA official familiar with US intelligence had said Iran was a leading candidate for the tanker sabotage but the United States did not have conclusive proof.

Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has final say on all state matters, was quoted by state TV as telling senior officials that his country won't negotiate with the United States, calling such talks "poison".

"We had formerly anticipated that they would carry out these sorts of activities to escalate tension", the foreign minister said. "They know that it is not to their benefit".

Shiite-majority Iran rivals Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia for influence in the Middle East, with the two taking opposing sides in multiple regional conflicts, including in Yemen.

The kingdom's state-owned oil company did not specify the nature of the "sabotage" on the two oil tankers nor did it reveal who it believed had carried out the attack.

The Andrea Victory's managers, Thome Group, said the tanker had a hole in the hull area "after being struck by an unknown object on the waterline".

It quoted the Cabinet as saying that it was the worldwide community's shared responsibility "to preserve maritime safety and oil tankers' security in anticipation of any effects on energy markets and the danger of that on world economy".

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