Britain, France and Germany have urged Iran to restart negotiations over a long-term nuclear deal after blaming the Middle Eastern country for recent attacks on Saudi Arabia oil facilities. Photo via U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Britain, France and Germany have joined the United States in blaming Iran for recent attacks on key Saudi Arabia oil facilities.
The leaders of the three European nations issued a joint statement Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, stating "it is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation."
The United States was the first to lay blame for the Sept. 14 attacks that included 10 drones strikes on state-run Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the international community to "unequivocally condemn Iran's attacks."
The three European nations, which are signatories to a multinational landmark nuclear accord with Iran, called the attacks a "concern for all countries" as they "increase the risk of a major conflict."
In New York on Monday for the U.N. summit, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani dismissed the statement as a "groundless blame game," Iran's state-media Press TV reported.
Iran blames Yemen's Houthi rebels and its allies for the attack.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also criticized the three countries on Twitter Monday for "parroting absurd U.S. claims" while not living up to their end of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action since U.S. Donald Trump pulled his country from the accord in May 2018.
Tensions between the United States and Iran first began to rise following Trump's decision to pull out of the deal and slap sanctions against Iran in 2018, but they have since skyrocketed as Iran has repeatedly withdrawn from agreements under the Obama-era deal as it seeks leverage in negotiating sanctions relief with the remaining countries.
Iran further distanced itself from the deal early this month after negotiations in Paris with the three countries over a sanctions bailout package failed.
In the joint statement, Britain, France and Germany urged Iran to return to compliance with JCPOA while calling on the Middle Eastern country to restart negotiations over a long-term deal aimed at preventing it from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
"We urge Iran to engage in such a dialogue and refrain from further provocation and escalation," the three countries said.