What Happened: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has declared a foreign government responsible for an Oct. 11 attack on the country's Sabiti oil tanker, noting that Tehran would retaliate against the assailants, Reuters reported Oct. 14. Rouhani, however, did not accuse a specific country of committing the attack. The president further added that Iran had access to a video showing two rockets hitting and damaging the tanker.
Why It Matters: Although the perpetrators of a potential attack remain unclear, several countries have the capabilities to conduct such a strike, including Saudi Arabia. However, it would be more likely that Israel staged the attack due to its past strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq and Syria.
Background: The United States and Saudi Arabia have been struggling to establish credible deterrence against Iran to prevent it from carrying out attacks against Saudi oil and gas infrastructure. Neither Riyadh nor Washington have so far publicly acknowledged any retaliatory measures for the September attacks against the Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing facilities that briefly took more than half of Saudi Arabia's crude production offline.
- How Iran's Attack Will Shape Saudi Arabia's Regional Stance (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Saudi Arabia Considers the Consequences of a Strike on Iran (Sept. 30, 2019)
- Q&A: Why Did Iran Attack Saudi Arabia? (Sept. 20, 2019)