'Very likely indeed' Iran was behind Saudi attacks - PM Johnson


"We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves", US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said at a news briefing on Friday.

Among those invited would be "Iraq, the entirety of the GCC"-referring to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, whose membership includes Iran's top rival Saudi Arabia-as well "Yemen, probably, and anyone who depends on the Strait of Hormuz", the world's most important maritime oil chokepoint".

The Conservative prime minister told reporters flying with him Sunday to NY for the U.N. General Assembly that Britain "is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran" for the September 14 attack by drones and cruise missiles.

He also stressed that on the eve of President Hassan Rouhani's visit to the United Nations - which sits in the middle of New York City - "it would be stupid for Iran to engage in such activity".

Iran's president had already called on Western powers Sunday to leave the security of the Persian Gulf to regional nations led by Tehran.

'I doubt anyone has the appetite for a direct clash between the US and Iran, ' said Barbara A. Leaf, who was USA ambassador to the UAE from 2014-2018 and is now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A senior Gulf official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Gulf countries, the United States, the Europeans and others needed to engage in "collective diplomacy" to defuse tensions.

France has been trying to find a diplomatic solution to U.S.

Asked whether Britain would rule out military action, Johnson said it would be closely watching a proposal by the United States to do more to help defend Saudi Arabia.

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The Pentagon announced Friday it will send additional USA troops and missile defense equipment to the region.

"Although it's not a foregone conclusion that a response against Iran will occur, the uncertainly about what that may entail is keeping a level of risk premium in prices", said Anthony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

Tehran (Iran) denies involvement in the attacks which was claimed by Yemen's Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen's civil war.

"The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks".

The official did not say whether Britain believed the attack was launched from Iranian soil.

Iran's president on Sunday warned Western nations to "stay away" from the Persian Gulf and said Tehran was working with regional partners to develop a security plan for the global waterway.

The US has accused Iran of being behind the strikes, but Tehran has denied the claims.

The attack resulted in more than a twofold drop in Saudi Arabia's daily oil output and caused a surge of oil prices.

Rouhani also referred to a new round of US sanctions on Iran's central bank and other financial bodies as a "repeat cassette tape".