Dubai: A Saudi Defence Ministry said that there was conclusive evidence of Iran's involvement in the Aramco attack that also rocked global markets this week, a spokesperson said in a press conference in Riyadh.
At the briefing conducted late on Wednesday, spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the attack definitely came from the north and was certainly supported by Iran.
He said that Iranian-made drones called "Delta Wing" participated in the attack and that the drones were flying from north to south.
He added that cruise missiles which Iran claimed to have were also used. Iran's Revolutionary Guards had announced in February last year that they had advanced models of cruise missiles.
The drones that were responsible for the terror attack on the oil facilities had an advanced positioning system. The spokeperson added that 25 drones and a cruise missile were used in the attack.
"An act of war"
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday described strikes on key Saudi oil installations as an “act of war”, reiterating that it was an “Iranian attack”.
“This was an Iranian attack,” he told reporters on his plane before landing in the western city of Jeddah, calling it “an act of war”.
He added there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq, amid media speculation the drones had been fired from there.
Pompeo landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, where he was scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Trump says there are many options short of war with Iran after attack on Saudis
Trump: 'Many options'
LOS ANGELES/JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after US ally Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in a crippling attack on its oil sites that was "unquestionably sponsored" by Tehran.
"There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we'll see," Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. "I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in -- war."
Trump, who earlier said on Twitter that he had ordered the U.S. Treasury to "substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran!" told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.
'Test of global will'
Trump's tweet followed repeated U.S. assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday's attack and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "test of global will".
Iran again denied involvement in the Sept. 14 raids, which hit the world's biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output. Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil exporter.
Responsibility was claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group, which on Wednesday gave more details of the raid, saying it was launched from three sites in Yemen.
In an attempt to bolster its assertion that Iran was responsible, Saudi Arabia showed drone and missile debris it said amounted to undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression.
25 drones and missiles
A total of 25 drones and missiles were used in the attacks launched from Iran, not Yemen, Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told a news conference.
"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," he said, adding Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were used in addition to cruise missiles.
An investigation into the origin of the attacks was still under way and the result will be announced later, he said.
The attack exposed gaps in Saudi air defences despite billions spent on Western military hardware.
Pressure to respond
Proof of Iranian responsibility, and in particular firm evidence that the attack was launched from Iranian territory, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response.
Both nations, however, were stressing the need for caution. Trump has previously said he does not want war and is coordinating with Gulf and European states.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "real test of the global will" to confront subversion of the international order.
His envoy to London, Prince Khalid bin Bander, told the BBC the attack was "almost certainly" Iranian-backed: "We're trying not to react too quickly because the last thing we need is more conflict in the region."
The Islamic Republic dismissed the allegations.
"They want to impose maximum ... pressure on Iran through slander," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
"We don't want conflict in the region ... Who started the conflict?" he added, blaming Washington and its Gulf allies for the war in Yemen.
Yemen's Houthi movement, battling a Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, said it used drones to assault state oil company Aramco's sites.
The raid exposed the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure and threw down a gauntlet to the United States, which wants to curb Iranian influence in the region.
"The attack is like Sept. 11th for Saudi Arabia, it is a game changer," said one Saudi security analyst.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Jeddah on Wednesday and met Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss the crisis, before heading to the UAE.
UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen were also heading to Saudi Arabia to investigate.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a major confrontation in the Gulf would have "devastating consequences" for the region and globally.
France, which is trying to salvage an international nuclear deal with Iran that Washington quit last year, said it wanted to establish the facts before reacting.
A US official told Reuters on Tuesday the strikes originated in southwestern Iran. Three officials said they involved cruise missiles and drones, indicating a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.
The officials did not provide evidence or explain what US intelligence they were using for evaluating the attack.
Saudi Arabia's finance minister told Reuters the attack had no impact on revenues and Aramco was continuing to supply markets without interruption.
US efforts to bring about a UN Security Council response looked unlikely to succeed as Russia and China have veto powers and were expected to shield Iran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has offered to sell defence systems to Riyadh, called for a "thorough and impartial" probe during a phone call with Prince Mohammed.
The 2015 nuclear deal ushered in a brief detente in long hostile relations between Iran and the United States.
But antagonism returned when Trump pulled out of the pact, reached before he took office, and reimposed sanctions, severely damaging the Iranian economy.
Iran has ruled out talks with Washington unless it returns to the pact.
Trump said he is not looking to meet Rouhani during a UN event in New York this month.
Rouhani and his foreign minister may not attend the General Assembly at all unless US visas are issued in the coming hours, Iranian state media reported on Wednesday.
Washington and its Gulf allies want Iran to stop supporting regional proxies, including in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
Despite years of air strikes against it, the Houthi movement boasts drones and missiles able to reach deep into Saudi Arabia, the result of an arms race since the Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015.
Iran's clerical rulers support the Houthis, who ousted Yemen's internationally recognised government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.
But Tehran denies that it actively arms and finances the Houthi movement.
- With inputs from Reuters