Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, will raise security at its oil facilities after Bahrain blamed Iran for a fire at a pipeline that connects the two Arab allies. Iran denied that it was involved.
The plan to step up security was reported by Al-Arabiya television Saturday, citing the Saudi energy ministry. Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said recent terrorist activities in Bahrain were directed by Iran, and security forces determined that the fire was intentional. The pipeline later in the day resumed pumping oil after a brief halt, the state-run Bahrain News Agency reported, citing a statement by Bahrain Petroleum Co.
The “attempt to bomb the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation that aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa said on Twitter. Iran responded by saying the Bahrainis “need to know that the era for lies and childish finger-pointing is over,” official Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Sunday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi.
Tensions have been rising in the region after Saudi Arabia blamed Shiite-ruled Iran for an attempted missile attack on Riyadh’s international airport last week, saying it could be considered an act of war. Saudi Arabia said the thwarted missile launched by Yemeni rebels had Iranian markings, a charge Iran has denied.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have advised their nationals to leave Lebanon, having earlier warned the Lebanese government of the dangers of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed group. Earlier this month, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned in a statement from Riyadh blaming Iran and Hezbollah for his departure.