Saudi Arabia showed evidence on Wednesday linking regional rival Tehran to an unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran in a dangerous escalation of Middle East frictions.
Tehran has denied involvement in the Sept. 14 attacks on oil plants, including the world’s biggest crude processing facility, which initially knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s production.
“We don’t want conflict in the region … Who started the conflict?” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, blaming Washington and Riyadh for war in Yemen.
Yemen’s Houthi group, an ally of Iran, has claimed responsibility and said they used drones to assault state oil company Aramco’s sites.
Saudi Arabia's defence ministry has shown off what it says is the wreckage of drones and cruise missiles that proves Iranian involvement in weekend attacks on two oil facilities.
It said 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were fired from a direction that ruled out Yemen as a source.
Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels had said they were behind the attacks.
Iran has denied any involvement and warned it would retaliate against any attack that targeted it.
The evidence was presented at a defence ministry press briefing, where debris from the drone (UAV) and missile attacks was laid out.
Defence ministry spokesman Col Turki al-Malki said the evidence showed the attacks were launched from the north and were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran”.
However, Col Malki said the Saudis were still "working to know exactly the launch point".
Col Malki said: "Data recovered from the computers [on the UAV] shows it's Iranian."
He said that 18 UAVs had been fired at the Abqaiq oil facility and seven cruise missiles had been launched at both targets.
Four cruise missiles struck the Khurais oilfield and the other three fell short of Abqaiq.
Col Malki said the missiles that struck had all come from a northerly direction.
He showed video of one UAV hitting Abqaiq, along with maps and photographs of the damage.
He said of the Khurais attack that the "precision impact of the cruise missiles indicates advanced capability beyond the Iran proxy's [Houthi rebel force's] capacity".
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials were headed to Saudi Arabia.
United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen also left for the kingdom, Saudi’s U.N. envoy told Reuters.