En route to the UN general assembly in New York, prime minister raises the possibility that the British military could become involved.
The UK now believes Iran was responsible for a major attack earlier this month on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, Boris Johnson has said, also raising the possibility that the British military could become involved in helping secure the Saudis against future aggression.
Speaking to reporters on his plane en route to the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York, the prime minister said there was “a very high degree of probability” that Iran was behind the drone and missile attack two major oil installation on 14 September.
Stressing his desire to avoid any escalation in the rumbling crisis, Johnson said he saw the UK’s role as “serving as a bridge between our European friends and the Americans”
The US and Saudi Arabia have previously said they believe the attack was carried out by Iran, and not by Houthi rebels battling Saudi forces in Yemen, who Iran says were to blame.
Johnson was due to hold joint talks with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, while in New York, in the guise of the so-called E3 group, which formulates policy on Iran between the nations. Neither France nor Germany has so far said who it believed was responsible.
The prime minister was also due to hold bilateral talks with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, on Tuesday, where he will discuss the Saudi attack and the continued detention of UK-Iran dual nationals including NazaninZaghari-Ratcliffe.
A UK official told The Associated Press that a claim of responsibility for the attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen was “implausible.” He said remnants of Iran-made cruise missiles were found at the attack site, and “the sophistication points very, very firmly to Iranian involvement.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings.
The official did not say whether Britain believed the attack was launched from Iranian soil. Iran denies responsibility and has warned any retaliatory attack targeting it will result in an “all-out war.”