Britain’s Reuters news agency on Monday published a private report that revealed the secrets of Iran’s “attack on Saudi Arabia from planning to execution”.
Four months before a swarm of drones and missiles, the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, was disrupted, Iranian security officials gathered at a heavily fortified compound in Tehran, which included senior commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, the elite branch of the military establishment, the report said.
The main topic on that day in May was how to punish the United States for withdrawing from a historic nuclear deal and its return to economic sanctions against Iran, the agency said.
“It’s time to show our swords and teach them a lesson”, the commander quoted four sources familiar with the meeting as saying.
The sources asserted that the hardliners talked about attacking high-value targets, including US military bases, but the meeting ultimately resulted in a plan that doesn’t amount to an explicit confrontation that could result in a devastating US response.
This is the targeting of oil facilities in US ally Saudi Arabia, a proposal discussed by senior Iranian military officials at that meeting in May and at least four meetings that followed.
The Reuters account of the events, as described by three officials familiar with the meetings and a fourth official familiar with the decision-making process in Iran, represents the first description of the role played by Iranian leaders in the planning of an attack on September 14 on Saudi Aramco.
They said Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had agreed to the operation on strict terms so that Iranian forces would avoid injuring any civilians or Americans.
The news agency reported that it could not confirm this account of events from the Iranian leadership, noting that a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards declined to comment, note that Iran insisted that it was not involved in the attack.
Ali Reza Mir Yousufi, spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, rejected the account.
The Saudi government communications center didn’t respond to a request for comment, the agency said, and the CIA and Pentagon declined to comment.