Attacking Gulf oil routes exposes alternatives to Hormuz

The Latest: Qatar trying to defuse tensions amid Iran crisis

Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Ordering Drone Attack on Oil Pipeline

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister, Khalid bin Salman, on Thursday accused Iran of ordering drone attacks on its oil pumping stations that were claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels. On Thursday, residents scrambled to pull 14 wounded people from the rubble of a building.

The Houthis said the attacks were to avenge Saudi actions in Yemen.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States, which sent more military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles, in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

On Wednesday, Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launched a coordinated drone attack on a critical oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia, Tehran's biggest rival in the region.

Iran has distanced itself from the attack, which no one has claimed. The pipeline attack marked one of the rebels' deepest and most significant drone strikes inside Saudi territory since the conflict began.

The editorial, ominously titled "Iran must not go unpunished" begins with the declaration that "nobody wants war", and then argues throughout about how vital it is that the USA launch such a war, even if it is just a limited war involving United States missile strikes.

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The coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from Western nations, carried out air strikes on Thursday in and around Yemen's capital Sanaa, which the Houthis control.

Sources said that India's statement does not take sides between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iranian foreign minister Javed Zarif had held talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday as part of his diplomatic drive to talk to shareholders about the recent developments and Iran's steps to suspend commitments under nuclear deal.

The United Arab Emirates has said that it would not intend to make accusations on the ships' attack off the UAE coasts, according to media reports.

A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, and carries out near-daily airstrikes.

After the arrival of a large number of American offensive weaponry and equipment in the Persian Gulf region, everyone is wondering: is this a preventive measure, act of intimidation or preparation for a real strike against Iran?

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However, this does not exclude that the U.S. will not continue to increase the degree of economic pressure on Iran, provoking it in parallel to make a reckless move. We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.

Despite attempts to calm the rhetoric about a potential conflict, on Wednesday, the US State Department ordered all "non-emergency US government employees" to leave Iraq; German and Dutch armed forces suspended training operations in Iraq. The U.S. military's Central Command said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating. "And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that". Gen. Chris Ghika, said earlier this week that there had been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.

Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of the US military's Central Command at its vast Al-Udeid Air Base.

The divergent approach by two crude-exporting heavyweights illustrates the complexities of dealing with Iran, which they see as a destabilizing force in the region.

Iran recently said it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7.

Sputnik discussed the possibility of a war between the USA and Iran amid rising tensions with Dr. Foad Izadi of the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran. That would potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, something Iran insists it has never sought.

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