United States-Iran tensions
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February 2, 2020

Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell is expected in Tehran Monday, Iran's foreign ministry announces a day ahead of the visit, amid new tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue.

Borrell "will visit Iran tomorrow for the first time since taking office (in early December). He is set to meet the foreign minister (Mohammad Javad Zarif) and other Iranian senior officials for consultations," foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Moussavi says in a statement. — AFP

January 29, 2020

The number of US troops injured by an Iranian missile strike in Iraq this month has risen to 50, according to new figures released by the Pentagon on Tuesday.

The personnel have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

The military had said on Friday that 34 troops were injured in the strike on the Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq on January 8.

US President Donald Trump had initially said no Americans were hurt by the missiles, and Democrats later accused him of trying to downplay the injuries.

Iran fired on Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for an American drone attack that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, raising fears of war. — AFP

January 21, 2020

Three rockets hit near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital's high-security Green Zone, security sources told AFP, with no immediate reports of casualties. 

Sirens could be heard across the zone immediately after the rockets made impact. 

The US has blamed Iran-backed paramilitary groups for a spate of similar attacks in recent months on the Green Zone, but there has never been a claim of responsibility.

January 18, 2020

President Donald Trump warns Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to be "very careful with his words."

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweets of Khamenei's comments in Tehran.

According to Trump, Khamenei's blistering speech, in which he attacked the "vicious" United States and described Britain, France and Germany as "America's lackey's," is a mistake.

"Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!" Trump tweets.

January 16, 2020

Canada vows Wednesday to get to the bottom of the plane crash that killed dozens of its nationals in Iran, ahead of a meeting in London with other countries that lost citizens.

Foreign ministers from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain — which all had nationals who died — are scheduled to meet on Thursday to press for "full cooperation from Iranian authorities," Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a press conference.

"Canada will not accept a situation where we feel that we're not being given the information that we're looking for," he said. 

"Make no mistake about it, Canada is going to get to the very bottom of this." — AFP

January 15, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the first batch of Filipinos have been successfully repatriated from Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq.

The group, composed of 11 adults and two children, was welcomed by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

January 15, 2020

The first batch of Filipinos coming home from Iraq after the government ordered mandatory repatriation are scheduled to arrive in Manila Wednesday.

Two groups of Filipinos will be coming from Baghdad and Erbil, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. They will be transiting Doha, Qatar before arriving in the country.

"More Filipinos from affected areas are expected to come home in the coming weeks," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said.

January 15, 2020

The United States said Tuesday it supported the three EU countries that launched a process charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 deal curtailing its nuclear program.

"We fully support the decision by the E3 to initiate the dispute resolution mechanism," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement. "We believe further diplomatic and economic pressure is warranted by nations."

Britain, France and Germany began the dispute process as tensions soar between the West and Iran following the killing of top commander Qasem Soleimani in a US strike, and the admission by Tehran days later that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner. — AFP

January 13, 2020

US President Donald Trump warns Iran against killing protesters who have risen up over the regime's downing of a civilian airliner as his defense secretary left the door open to talks with Tehran without preconditions.

Trump's salvo came as Iran's Islamic regime faced a challenge from angry street protests, having come to the brink of war with the US after a series of tit-for-tat confrontations.

"To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS," Trump tweeted, warning that the world and "more importantly, the USA is watching." 

— AFP

January 12, 2020

The United States calls on Iran to apologize for detaining the British ambassador to Tehran, reportedly during protests against the regime.

"This violates the Vienna Convention, which the regime has a notorious history of violating. We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweets. 

 

 

— AFP

January 11, 2020

Migrante International hit Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s "brash behavior" against its members and some distressed overseas Filipino workers at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters.

"It is unacceptable for Locsin, or for any public servant, to show his arrogance when he yelled at the protesters and OFW families and challenged them to beat him up," says Migrante-Canada.  

"Instead of providing answers to the legitimate issues and concerns raised by the protesters and OFW families affected by the current turmoil in Iraq brought about by the United States’ assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the hostile secretary only showcased his utter ignorance about how diplomacy works, setting a dangerous precedent if his deplorable behavior is emulated by the wide following he claims for the government’s actions," it adds. 

January 10, 2020

Filipino migrant workers' group Migrante again questions the planned deployment of two military battalions to help with repatriation of Filipinos in the Middle East.

"If there is any genuine concern and sincerity on the part of the Philippine government for the imperiled OFWs, it should be sending social workers, health care professionals and translators instead of militarizing evacuation operations," the group says.

Due to de-escalation of tension in the region, the government said it is only implementing mandatory repatriation for OFWs in Iraq.

January 10, 2020

In a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the US House voted Thursday to restrict his future military action against Iran, as lawmakers sought to claw back congressional war powers from the White House.

The non-binding resolution was introduced by Democrats after Trump's order to kill an Iranian commander and retaliatory missile strikes by the Islamic republic dramatically escalated tensions and raised fears of a war between the two foes.

The vote, 224 to 194, was largely along party lines, although three members of Trump's Republican Party joined Democrats in approving the measure that demands the president not engage in military action against Iran unless authorized by Congress. — AFP

January 9, 2020

Pope Francis calls for restraint from the United States and Iran after a military tit-for-tat that he warned could trigger a "vaster conflict" in the Middle East.

"Particularly troubling are the signals coming from the entire region following the heightening of tensions between Iran and the United States," the pope says in his annual speech to Vatican diplomats.

Iran on Wednesday launched 22 ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq hosting American and other foreign troops, in a calibrated response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a US air strike last week. — AFP

January 9, 2020

Migrante and other OFW groups will picket the Department of Foreign Affairs office on Friday to protest the planned deployment of two military battalions to help with the repatriation of Filipino workers from the Middle East.

"Migrante sees the deployment of combatants and Duterte’s default pro-US position as adding fuel to the fire in an already conflict-ridden Middle East region," the group says in a media advisory.

"The group believes that if the government is really concerned for OFW welfare, it should send contingents of social workers, health workers and translators in place of military combatants," it also says.

 

January 9, 2020

Iran said Wednesday it respects Iraq's territorial integrity, after firing missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops.

The early Wednesday strike led Iraq to say it would summon the Iranian ambassador.

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iran's ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said his country has full respect for "the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq."

There were no American or Iraqi military casualties in the strikes.

"The operation was precise and targeted military objectives thus leaving no collateral damage to civilians and civilian assets in the area," the diplomat said in a letter released by the Iranian mission.

Iran "recalls its dedication to the maintenance of international peace and security and stresses that it does not seek escalation or war," he said. — AFP

January 8, 2020

Iranian state television claims that Wednesday missile strikes on bases in Iraq killed 80 Americans, in a report citing what it called an informed Revolutionary Guards source.

Iran launched 22 missiles overnight at the Iraqi bases used by US and other US-led coalition troops, the Iraqi army said.

"At least 80 American military (personnel) were killed in this attack," the state television website reports. — AFP

January 8, 2020

Iranian state television claims that Wednesday missile strikes on bases in Iraq killed 80 Americans, in a report citing what it called an informed Revolutionary Guards source.

Iran launched 22 missiles overnight at the Iraqi bases used by US and other US-led coalition troops, the Iraqi army said.

"At least 80 American military (personnel) were killed in this attack," the state television website reports. — AFP

January 8, 2020

Iran's supreme leader says a "slap in the face" was delivered to the United States, when the Islamic republic fired missiles at US troop bases in Iraq on Wednesday.

"Last night, a slap in the face was delivered," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says in a speech broadcast live on state television.

His remarks came after he had vowed "severe revenge" for a US drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad international airport last week. — AFP

January 8, 2020

Special envoy to Middle East Roy Cimatu, who is also Environment secretary, says Filipino workers who will be repatriated from Iraq will be airlifted or will be brought over land to Jordan or to the United Arab Emirates, The STAR's Elizabeth Marcelo reports.

He says the Overseas Filipino Workers will have an option to go to Qatar or home to Manila.

January 8, 2020

The Iraqi military say a total of 22 missiles struck two bases housing US troops, but there were no Iraqi casualties. 

"Between 1:45 am and 2:15 am (2245 GMT and 2315 GMT) Iraq was hit by 22 missiles, 17 on the Ain al-Asad air base and ... five on the city of Arbil," the Iraqi military command say in a statement, adding they hit sites being used by the US-led international coalition.

"There were no victims among the Iraqi forces," the military say, referring to the attack carried out by Iran in retaliation for the US killing of a top Iranian general.

January 8, 2020

Iran says it had carried out and "concluded" its reprisal over the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani when it targeted US forces in Iraq with a missile strike.

"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense" targeting a base from which a "cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials" was launched, says Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter. 

"We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

— AFP

January 8, 2020

President Donald Trump says that initial casualty assessments indicated "all is well" after Iranian missiles targeted two bases housing US troops in Iraq.

He tweeted that "assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!"

Trump did not go on evening television to address the nation -- something of an informal presidential tradition in times of foreign policy crisis -- in the immediate hours following Iran's missile strikes. — AFP

January 8, 2020

The US Federal Aviation Administration says it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf following rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

"The (FAA) issues Notices to Airmen tonight outlining flight restrictions that prohibit US civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman," it says in a statement.

"The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East." — AFP

January 8, 2020

Military jets could be seen flying over the Iraqi capital early Wednesday, hours after Tehran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where US troops are located.

AFP's correspondents saw jets cutting through the clouds over Baghdad but could not immediately identify the planes.

Iran's strikes came in response to a US drone attack last week that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. — AFP

January 8, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirms that Alert Level 4 has been raised in Iraq following government meetings on the situation in the Middle East for the past few days.

This crisis status calls for mandatory evacuation or repatriation of Filipinos in the country. 

January 8, 2020

Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday responded to the assassination of commander Qassem Soleimani with a missile attack on an Iraqi airbase used by the US military, Iranian state media said.

The IRGC confirmed the Ain al-Assad base was hit "with tens of missiles" and promised "more crushing responses" in case of further US attacks, the state-run PressTV said on Twitter. — AFP

January 8, 2020

The White House said Tuesday President Donald Trump was "monitoring" reports of a rocket attack on an airbase in western Iraq where US and coalition forces are based.

"We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

At least nine rockets slammed into the Ain al-Asad airbase late Tuesday, security sources told AFP, after pro-Tehran factions in Iraq had vowed to "respond" to a US drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week. — AFP

January 7, 2020

State television reports a stampede at the funeral for a top Iranian general killed 32 people and injured 190 in the southeastern city of Kerman.

"Unfortunately because of overcrowding 32 of our citizens lost their lives in the procession... and 190 were injured," the head of the country's emergency services, Pirhossein Koolivand, tells the channel.

The injured were immediately transferred to hospital, he added. — AFP

January 7, 2020

Iranians gather in Kerman for the burial of top general Qasem Soleimani in the final stage of funeral processions after he was killed in a US strike in Iraq.

The massive number of mourners in the hometown of the slain commander of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations arm appeared to match the huge turnout seen in the cities of Tehran, Qom, Mashhad and Ahvaz.

A hugely popular figure in the Islamic republic, Soleimani was killed outside Baghdad airport on Friday in a drone strike ordered by US President Donald Trump, ratcheting up tensions with arch-enemy Iran which has vowed "severe revenge". — AFP

January 6, 2020

The Philippine National Police says it is profiling groups and threats "who may take advantage of or may sympathize with" the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa says in a press briefing.

"There are also security concerns... of course there may be some who are sympathetic either by race or ideology," he says.

Gamboa says the PNP will adjust security measures for the feast of the Black Nazarene, which more than a million devotees are expected to attend, if they see a threat related to US-Iran tension.

He says, though, that the police see "no direct threat or direct implication that it is so."

 

January 6, 2020

The leaders of Germany, France and Britain on Sunday urged Iran to drop measures that go against the 2015 nuclear deal, after Tehran announced it would no longer abide by a limit on enrichment.

"We call on Iran to withdraw all measures that are not in line with the nuclear agreement," German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British PM Boris Johnson said in a joint statement.

The 2015 agreement negotiated between Iran and the UN Security Council permanent members — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany offered Tehran relief from stinging sanctions in return for curbs to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons.

But US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal last year had largely left it in tatters, with Iran in turn progressively dropping key commitments in the accord. — AFP

January 5, 2020

Saudi Arabia was not consulted by Washington over a US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, an official said Sunday, as the kingdom sought to defuse soaring regional tensions.

Saudi Arabia is vulnerable to possible Iranian reprisals after Tehran vowed "revenge" following the strike on Friday that killed powerful commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike," a Saudi official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

"In light of the rapid developments, the kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences," the official added. -- AFP

January 5, 2020

A group claiming to be hackers from Iran breached the website of a little-known US government agency on Saturday and posted messages vowing revenge for Washington's killing of top military commander Qasem Soleimani.

The website of the Federal Depository Library Program was replaced with a page titled "Iranian Hackers!" that displayed images of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian flag.

"Martyrdom was (Soleimani's)... reward for years of implacable efforts," read a graphic depicting US President Donald Trump being punched by a first emanating from Iran as missiles fly by.

"With his departure and with God's power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and blood of the other martyrs," it said.

"This is only small part of Iran's cyber ability !" another caption on the page read in white text on a black background. -- AFP

January 5, 2020

US President Donald Trump warned Saturday that the US is targeting 52 sites in Iran and will hit them "very fast and very hard" if the Islamic republic attacks American personnel or assets.

In a tweet defending Friday's drone strike assassination of a top Iranian general in Iraq, Trump said 52 represents the number of Americans held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran for more than a year starting in late 1979.

Trump said some of these sites are "at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!" — AFP

January 4, 2020

A US defense official says US-led forces helping Iraqi troops fight jihadists have scaled back operations, a day after an American strike killed top Iranian and Iraqi commanders.

"Our first priority is protecting coalition personnel," the official says, citing the US-led force had "limited" their training and other anti-jihadist operations. 

"It's not a halt," the source says, adding: "We have increased security and defensive measures at Iraqi bases that host coalition troops." — AFP

January 4, 2020

The Revolutionary Guards say Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani will be laid to rest Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman as part of three days of ceremonies across the country.

The US military killed Soleimani on Friday in an air strike outside Baghdad international airport that shocked the Islamic republic and sparked fears of a new war in the Middle East.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed the commander of its Quds Force foreign operations arm had been killed on Friday by US forces in an air strike on Baghdad international airport. — AFP

January 4, 2020

Thousands of Iraqis join Baghdad funeral for slain commanders, who include top general Qasem Soleimani — AFP

January 4, 2020

A fresh air strike hits pro-Iran fighters in Iraq early Saturday, as fears grew of a proxy war erupting between Washington and Tehran a day after an American drone strike killed a top Iranian general.

It came hours ahead of a planned a mourning march for Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary heavyweight Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, slain in a precision drone strike by the US in Baghdad on Friday.

The assassination was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US, which pledged to send more troops to the region even as US President Donald Trump insisted he did not want war. — AFP

January 4, 2020

State television reports a new US air strike targeted a commander in Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force early Saturday, a day after an American drone strike killed a top Iranian general.

The channel says the strike took place north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad but did not name the targeted figure.

A police source says that bombardment there hit a Hashed convoy and left "dead and wounded," without providing a specific toll. — AFP

January 3, 2020

Iraqi President Barham Saleh calls for restraint after a US strike killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis outside Baghdad airport.

"We call on everyone to restrain themselves," Saleh says in a statement, characterizing the strike as an "aggression" and saying Iraq would be destabilised if "voices of reason" did not prevail. — AFP

January 3, 2020

Moscow warns that the US killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq would boost tensions across the Middle East.

"The killing of Soleimani... was an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region," news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

"Soleimani served the cause of protecting Iran's national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people."

Russia and Iran are key allies in the Middle East, with the militaries of both countries backing President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. — AFP 

January 3, 2020

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows "severe revenge" after the United States killed the commander of the Islamic republic's Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

"Martyrdom was the reward for his ceaseless efforts in all these years," Khamenei says on his Farsi-language Twitter account in reference to Soleimani, also declaring three days of mourning.

"With him gone, God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped, but severe revenge awaits the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood and other martyrs' in last night's incident." — AFP

January 3, 2020

A former head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards says revenge would be exacted on the United States for killing the commander of its Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

"Soleimani joined his martyr brothers but we will exact terrible vengeance upon America," Mohsen Rezai, who currently heads the Expediency Council, writes on Twitter. — AFP

January 3, 2020

Pentagon says US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, who died in Baghdad "in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad." 

"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more," the Department of Defense says.

Following Soleimani's death, Trump tweeted an image of the US flag without any further explanation. — AFP

December 31, 2019

Washington has accused Iraqi authorities of having failed to "protect" US interests, the day after deadly American air strikes against a pro-Iran group sparked anger.

At least 25 fighters were killed in Sunday night's attacks, which were in retaliation for the death last week of a US civilian contractor.

"We have warned the Iraqi government many times, and we've shared information with them to try to work with them to carry out their responsibility to protect us," a senior US State Department official tells reporters in Washington. — AFP

December 31, 2019

Iraq's government warns that its relations with the United States were at risk after deadly American air strikes against a pro-Iran group sparked anger on the streets, with protesters torching US flags.

Baghdad says it would summon the US ambassador while Washington responded by accusing Iraqi authorities of having failed to "protect" US interests.

At least 25 fighters were killed in Sunday night's attacks, which saw US planes hit several bases belonging to the Hezbollah Brigades, one of the most radical factions of Hashed al-Shaabi, a Tehran-backed Iraqi paramilitary coalition. — AFP

September 27, 2019

Tensions between the United States and Iran has escalated as Washington deployed more troops to the Gulf and Tehran challenged its arch-enemy to provide evidence it attacked Saudi oil facilities.

The Pentagon announces it was sending 200 troops with Patriot missiles to bolster Saudi Arabia's defenses following the strikes this month that knocked out half of the Kingdom's oil production.

After a week of diplomacy at the United Nations where European leaders unsuccessfully tried to arrange a US-Iran meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded that Washington back up its accusations that Iran was behind the attacks. — AFP   

September 22, 2019

The past week's sudden surge in oil prices brought to mind the nightmare of shortages, but it's not too likely motorists will be queueing to fill up around the world, analysts say.

All it took was a September 14 strike on key oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia to abruptly leave the world's main supplier producing just half its normal amount. That sent the price of Brent crude flying 15% higher in a single day.

The price on a barrel of crude has come back down since then and by Friday was trading around $65. 

"In essence, the world is far better equipped to handle oil shocks than it was in the '70s," explains Harry Tchilinguirian, the head of commodity research at BNP Paribas

Given the slowdown in the global economy and the abundance of crude produced worldwide, the prospect of a $100 barrel, for now, doesn't look too likely. — AFP

September 21, 2019

The United States announces that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices. — AFP

September 21, 2019

US President Donald Trump announces new sanctions on Iran that he said were the toughest-ever against another country but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said that Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office. "These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country." — AFP

Saudi Arabia reveals extensive damage to key oil facilities following weekend aerial strikes that were blamed on Iran, but vows to quickly restore full production even as regional tensions soar.

Yemen's Tehran-linked Huthi rebels, who announced a sudden halt to attacks on Saudi Arabia, claims the strikes on state giant Aramco's facilities in Khurais and the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq.

But Washington has pointed the finger at Tehran, condemning an "act of war" which knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production and on Friday prompted US President Donald Trump to sketch out the latest in a series of economic sanctions against Iran. — AFP

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