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The Latest: Germany condemns attack on key Saudi oil sites

Posted on Monday, September 16th, 2019 By The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf and the fallout after weekend attack by Iran-backed Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

Germany's foreign minister has sharply condemned a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia.

Heiko Maas also told reporters on Monday in Berlin that "the situation is exceedingly worrisome; this is really the very last thing that we currently need in this conflict."

The tensions roiling the Persian Gulf escalated following the attack on major Saudi oil sites that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for — charges that Tehran denies. Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack.

Maas said while Germany is aware the Houthis claimed responsibility, it is currently evaluating with its partners, "who is responsible for this attack, how it could happen."

Maas stressed that it's important to analyze the situation with "sober-mindedness."

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12:25 a.m.

Iraq's prime minister says U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has telephoned him amid soaring tensions in the region after a weekend attack on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received the phone call on Monday. There were no immediate details on what the two sides discussed.

U.S. officials have offered satellite images of the damage at Saudi Arabia's crucial Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key oil field, alleging the pattern of destruction suggested the attack on Saturday came from either Iraq or Iran — rather than Yemen, as claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there.

Iraq, which is home to powerful Iran-backed militias, has categorically denied its airspace was used to launch an attack on the kingdom.

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11:30 a.m.

Iran says a meeting between the presidents of the U.S. and Iran on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month is not on the agenda.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that "this meeting will not happen" and called reports about a potential face-to-face between Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani as mere "speculation."

However, the U.S. has said it will remain open for talks with Iran. Trump tweeted Sunday: The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, "No Conditions." That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)"

The tensions roiling the Persian Gulf escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for — charges that Tehran denies. Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed they targeted a Saudi processing facility and an oil filed with drones.

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6:10 a.m.

Global energy prices have spiked after an attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure as President Donald Trump warned Iran that America was "locked and loaded" to respond to an assault it alleges Tehran orchestrated.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20% in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to 10% higher. A barrel of Brent traded up $6 to $66.28.

U.S. benchmark West Texas crude was up around 9%.

Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed the attacks Saturday. However, the U.S. released satellite images overnight Monday it alleges shows the fire came from either Iraq or Iran.

Iran has denied being involved in the attack, though it comes amid heightened tensions over Tehran's unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

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