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France Helps Saudi Arabia Protect Oil Facilities From New Attacks

Naval radar

France has deployed a radar system on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast that faces the Persian Gulf to help the Kingdom protect its vital oil infrastructure, which was hit by attacks in September, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting senior French officials.

After the mid-September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which cut off more than 5 percent of daily global oil supply for weeks, France—which like the U.S. pointed the finger at Iran as the ultimate perpetrator of the attacks—pledged to help Saudi Arabia to protect its oil infrastructure and prevent new attacks.

“In the Arabian Peninsula and Arab-Persian Gulf, where tensions are mounting, we have deployed in record time the Jaguar Task Force, which contributes to reassuring the Saudi kingdom,” Reuters quoted French President Emmanuel Macron as saying in a speech to the French military on Thursday.

Through initiatives with our European partners, we are bolstering the maritime security in the region that is of strategic importance to us, Macron said on Twitter.

The radar system on the eastern Saudi coast is part of the Jaguar Task Force mission, French officials told Reuters, declining to provide additional information.

Since the U.S. withdrew from the so-called Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been rising. The U.S. is looking to cut off all of Iran’s oil exports while Iran is accusing the United States of meddling with its affairs.

The tensions escalated earlier this month, when the U.S. killed Iran’s most powerful and visible military leader, Qassem Soleimani, at the Baghdad airport in Iraq.  

Retaliation from Iran came several days later, when Tehran fired missiles at bases in Iraq that host U.S. troops, sending oil prices up by 4 percent for a few hours.

On Friday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran’s missile strikes on U.S. bases in Iraq last week were a “slap on the face” to the United States.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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