What Happened: U.S. officials have said that an attack against a Saudi oil processing plant originated on Iranian territory, citing intelligence findings, while Riyadh said it hasn't yet reached the same conclusion after analyzing the information, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 16.
Why It Matters: Official U.S. accusations against Iran raise the likelihood of a U.S. reaction against Tehran over the recent attack, although it remains unclear how Washington might respond or whether it might choose to do so through a concerted effort with regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia. Riyadh's comments suggest that the Saudi government may be hesitating on blaming Tehran, perhaps due to concerns over sparking a regional conflict.
Background: An attack against the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia early Sept. 14 local time reduced the country's daily oil output by half and resulted in a global spike in crude prices. Although Yemeni Houthi rebels initially claimed responsibility for the attack, U.S. officials said they believed Iranian cruise missiles were behind the incident.