WASHINGTON (AP) — Saudi Arabia has shared information with American officials that suggests Iran may be preparing an imminent attack on the kingdom, three American officials confirmed on Tuesday. did.
As the Biden administration criticizes Tehran for cracking down on widespread protests and accuses Iran of sending hundreds of drones and technical assistance to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, Concerns about a possible attack on Saudi Arabia are growing.
“We are concerned about the threat landscape and are in constant communication with the Saudis through our military and intelligence services,” the National Security Council said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to act to protect our interests and our partners in the region.”
One of the officials who confirmed the information sharing described it as a credible threat of an attack “immediately or within 48 hours.” U.S. embassies or consulates in the region have not issued any warnings or guidance to Americans in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East based on their information. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
Brig, asked about the intelligence reports shared by the Saudis. Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder said U.S. military officials were “concerned about the threat situation in the region.”
“We are in regular contact with our Saudi partners to discuss what information they have to provide on that front,” Ryder said. “But I repeat what we said before, wherever our troops are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, we have the right to defend ourselves and defend ourselves. is to reserve the
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Saudis shared the information on Tuesday.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of being behind a massive attack in eastern Saudi Arabia in 2019 that cut the oil-rich kingdom’s output in half and sent energy prices soaring. The Iranians denied they were behind the attack.
The Saudis have also been repeatedly attacked in recent years by drones, missiles and mortars fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in retaliation for Saudi involvement in the civil war that began in Yemen in 2014. Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition to fight the Houthis. It has been internationally criticized for carrying out airstrikes in 2015 that killed dozens of civilians.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration has imposed sanctions on Iranian officials for brutal treatment of demonstrators after the death of 22-year-old Martha Amini in custody of Iranian security forces in September. The administration has also imposed sanctions on Iran for supplying Russia with drones for use in the war in Ukraine.
At least 270 people were killed and 14,000 arrested during the protests, according to a group of Iranian human rights activists. Regardless, the demonstration continues.
Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have also been strained after OPEC+, the Riyadh-led coalition of oil producers, announced in October that it would cut production by 2 million barrels per day from November.
The White House said it was reviewing its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the move. The administration said the production cuts are effectively supplementing its financial resources as Russia, another of his OPEC+ members, continues its war in Ukraine, now in its ninth month. .
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated on Tuesday that the administration remains concerned that Iran may provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles.
“That concern has never been expressed, but there are concerns,” Kirby said.
The United States and others have expressed concern about Iran’s egregious behavior, but the administration has not ruled out the possibility of an Obama administration brokering a revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration scrapped in 2018.
US special envoy to Iran Robert Murray said on Monday that the government is not currently focusing on a deal that has stalled since August.
Still, Murray refused to declare the deal’s withdrawal and said the administration “will not apologize” for “trying to do everything it can to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), offers Tehran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for countries agreeing to scale back their nuclear program to the limits set in the 2015 agreement. I will provide a. This includes limits on enrichment and the amount of material Iran can stockpile, limiting the sophisticated centrifuge operations required for enrichment.
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