Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday denied the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s state oil installation originated from Iraqi territory.
Claimed by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the attack on the world’s biggest oil processing plant knocked out half of the Saudi kingdom’s oil supply to the world market.
Despite the Houthi claim, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a tweet on Saturday accusing Iran of launching the attack, claiming “there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen”.
Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, rejected the “meaningless” accusation. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded by tweeting: “Having failed at max pressure, Pompeo now is turning to max deceit.”
The Wall Street Journal and CNN Arabic published reports on Sunday which appeared to back Pompeo’s claim, indicating the drones originated from Iraqi territory, not Yemen.
Buqayq is situated some 330 kilometers (205 miles) northeast of the Saudi capital Riyadh, a long way from Yemen to the south and closer to Iraq to the north.
However, in a statement on Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi denied any drones had been launched against Saudi Arabia from Iraqi territory, and insisted Iraq respects the sovereignty of “neighboring and allied countries”.
“Iraq is committed to preventing any attacks on its neighboring countries from Iraqi soil,” Abdul-Mahdi said. “Iraq denies any drones launched from Iraq to target the Saudi Aramco oil facility.”
The Iraqi PM asked all parties in the region, and specifically in Yemen, to cease fighting and solve their differences through peaceful dialogue. There is no “winner in Yemen’s war, and only civilians are the victims,” he added.