Iran’s Zarif stumbles when asked if Houthis carried out Saudi oil attack

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif failed to answer a question about whether the Iran-backed Houthi movement was responsible for Saturday’s attack on two Saudi Aramco facilities.

In a televised interview, CNN journalist Nick Paton Walsh asked Zarif three times whether the Houthis performed the attacks. Zarif did not directly answer the question and stumbled in his reply.

Walsh first asked Zarif if he was “very sure” the Houthis were accountable for the attack. Zarif replied “I’m very sure that Iran didn’t do it.”

The interviewer posed the question again, bringing up how Zarif consistently has said he believes the Houthis were responsible for the attack. Zarif denied this.

“No, no, no. I believe, I believe the Houthis made a statement that they did it,” said Zarif.

Walsh tried one more time, asking if Zarif was now unsure the Houthis performed the attack.

“I – I can’t have any confidence that they did it, because we just heard their statement. I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis have made a statement that they did it,” said Zarif.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks, which caused fires at two Saudi Aramco facilities in Abqaiq and Hijrat Khurais oilfield, knocking out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and damaging the world’s biggest crude processing plant.

Despite the Houthi’s claim, US intelligence and leadership place blame on Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blamed Iran on Sunday and said there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

Pompeo said there is a consensus in the Gulf that Iran is responsible for the attacks, after he traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Iran has denied US accusations it was to blame and said it was ready for “full-fledged war.”

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