Tehran is planning a follow-up in Saudi Arabia, Houthi militants warn

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Iran is preparing a follow-up to the missile and drone attack that hit the oil industry in Saudi Arabia last weekend, warned Houthi militants.

Houthi militants in Yemen told Saudi and US officials that they are raising the alarm about a possible new attack after they were pushed by Iran to play a role in it, the Wall Street newspaper reported.

Houthi's statements have long been received with skepticism by Western officials, but Saudi Arabia is strengthening its security as a precautionary measure. Officials fear that a new potential attack could hit the oil industry or civilian airports, including the capital of Riyadh.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam denied that the group had given any warning to foreign diplomats about potential Iranian attacks.

The warning comes when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calls on Western powers to leave the security of the Persian Gulf to the regional nations led by Tehran.

Rouhani has criticized a new US-led coalition that patrols the region's water courses, while Sunday's national shows showed the Islamic Republic's military arsenal.

He has promised separately to unveil a regional peace plan at this week's upcoming high-level meetings at the United Nations, which occur amid rising tensions over oil attacks.

The United States claims that Iran carried out the September 14 oil attacks that caused oil prices to increase at a higher rate than the 1991 Gulf War.

While Yemen's Iranian allies Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the assault, Saudi Arabia claims it was "undoubtedly sponsored by Iran".

For its part, Iran denies being responsible and warned that any retaliatory attack that hits it will result in a "total war".

The United States maintain defense agreements across the Persian Gulf with allied Arab nations and have tens of thousands of troops stationed in the region. Since 1980 it has seen the region as crucial for its national security, given its energy exports.

A fifth of all the oil traded passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The United States plans to send additional troops to the region due to tensions.

How did it all begin?

On September 14, the Abqaiq plant of Saudi Arabia and the Khurais oil field were attacked by air strikes.

These attacks marked the single worst sudden interruption of the oil market ever, leading to the interruption of about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil in the kingdom.

It has helped to raise world oil prices by 10% on Monday, the fastest increase in over a decade.

Satellite images released by the US government showed the extent of the damage.

BECAUSE THE VOLTAGES ARE INCREASING

During the past week, tensions have built up between the United States and Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Houthi rebels allied to Iran in Yemen, with whom Saudi Arabia is at war, claimed responsibility, saying the drones were thrown into the attack.

But Saudi Arabia said the attack did not come from Yemen and said the first investigations show that Iranian weapons were used. The kingdom has not yet told where the attack was launched or what kind of weapons were involved.

The United States has made similar accusations, going so far as to say that the attack may have been launched by Iran itself or by neighboring Iraq, where Iran has powerful proxy militias on the ground.

Iran has denied the allegations, responding with fury to the accusation and coming to threaten US bases with rocket attacks.

This show of strength did not come from nothing; tensions between the United States and Iran have been high for more than a year.

Last year, in May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Global Action Plan, or "Agreement with Iran", with which Tehran agreed to demolish the its uranium and nuclear construction facilities in exchange for the lifting of paralyzing economic sanctions.

Trump said it was a "horrible unilateral agreement" that gave Iran too much power.

In June of this year, Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone, destroying expensive equipment.

The American army responded by hitting Iran with a cyber attack that interrupted the Iranian and Trump missile program exchanged insults with Iranian officials during the events.

The feud last week is only the last round of those ongoing tensions, but it could be the point that intensifies in the war.

– with AAP

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