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Saudis trying to avoid Iran war… but ‘all options open’

Holding Iran to account: Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir PICTURE: BBC

SAUDI Arabia is considering all options, including military ones, in response to attacks on two of its oil facilities, its foreign minister has said.

Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom, which wanted to avoid war and escalation, held Iran accountable for the drone and missile strike.

A US report that Iran was behind the September 14 attacks has been backed by the UK, France and Germany.

Houthi rebels, who are supported by Tehran and fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, have claimed responsibility.

But Saudi officials say the range, scale and complexity of the attacks exceeded the capabilities of the Houthis.

Mr Jubeir told the BBC: ‘Everybody’s trying to avoid war and everybody’s trying to avoid escalation. So we will look at all the options that are available to us. We will make a decision at the right time.’

He added: ‘Appeasement has not worked with Iran in the past, appeasement will not work with Iran in the future.’ The US re-imposed economic sanctions against Tehran last year after abandoning a 2015 nuclear deal.

In May it said it would try to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil and put pressure on Iran to negotiate a new nuclear accord. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said this week that the US wanted ‘a peaceful resolution with the Islamic Republic of Iran’. But he added: ‘In the end, it’ll be up to the Iranians to make that decision, or whether they’ll choose violence and hate’.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, had attempted to act as broker in a meeting between Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and his US counterpart Donald Trump.

But Mr Rouhani told delegates at the UN he would not meet Mr Trump while punishing economic sanctions were in place. He also dismissed the idea of a photo with Mr Trump, who has staged several photo opportunities with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

‘Memento photos are the final stage of negotiations, not the first one,’ Mr Rouhani said.