Turkey's Erdogan urges caution over blaming Iran for Saudi attack

Turkish president says it 'is not right' to blame Iran for the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

    President Erdogan says the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities came from several parts of neighbouring Yemen [Anadolu]
    President Erdogan says the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities came from several parts of neighbouring Yemen [Anadolu]

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged caution over blaming Iran for the September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities.

    The United States, some European Union member states and Saudi Arabia have blamed the attack on Iran, instead of Yemen's Houthi rebels who have claimed responsibility.

    Iran distanced itself from the incident but said it was ready for a "full-fledged" war.

    Erdogan told the US's Fox News that it was not "the right thing to do" to blame Tehran. 

    "We need to recognise attacks of this scale come from several parts of Yemen. But if we just place the entire burden on Iran, it won't be the right way to go. Because the evidence available does not necessarily point to that fact," he said. 

    The attack on Saudi oil giant Aramco's Abqaiq and Khurais plants caused significant damage that halved the crude output of the world's top oil exporter, shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day of production.

    The attack on the heartland of Saudi Arabia's oil industry also knocked out about five percent of global oil supply, causing panic over possible shortages.

    Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia was in consultation "with friends and allies about the next steps to take". 

    The attacks come amid mounting tensions between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme. US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington last year from a landmark international accord that lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities.

    Since then, Trump has reinstated punishing sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. 

    Erdogan, in his remarks to Fox News, questioned the effectiveness of sanctions.  

    "We are here today and gone tomorrow. Specifically, because we are neighbours with Iran, and I for one know that sanctions never solved anything," he said.

    He went on to dismiss allegations that Turkey was helping Iran and other countries evade US sanctions as "more than wrong". 

    Iran, meanwhile, says it will not negotiate on the nuclear issue as long as US sanctions, which it calls "merciless economic terrorism" remain in place.

    Tehran has also been revamping its nuclear programme gradually in response to the sanctions.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies