Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President, still denies that his country were involved in the devastating strikes on two Saudi oil plants in Abqaiq and Khurais. Meanwhile, Houthi rebels who are based in Yemen and aligned with Tehran have claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing satellite imagery that supposedly displays their attacks hitting 17 of 19 targets at the two plants. However, Western powers roundly agree that these claims lack validity, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming the US can prove that the strikes originated from the east rather than west. French President Emmanuel Macron sent investigators to Riyadh, and has this week Paris described the attacks as “an act of war” claiming that the Houthi version of events “lacks credibility”, with Macron emphasising the need for de-escalation in the region.
Even Iranian allies Russia have moved to help Saudi Arabia, with Vladimir Putin offering Crown Prince Bin Salman Russian S-400 missiles that have already made their way to Turkey.
Saudi Arabia are currently armed with American Patriot defence systems, but Pompeo admitted this week that they have “mixed success”.
Riyadh may have been shook by the attacks, but with the West cornering Iran they have plenty of friends.
Donald Trump has backed a military response by Iran, while Rouhani has been animated in his warnings to Washington, claiming Iran’s response.
In terms of the on the ground combat, Iran boast 1634 combat tanks while Saudi Arabia possess just 1062.
In the air Rouhani’s military power would possibly come unstuck, as Iran currently have 509 aircraft vehicles while Saudi Arabia own 848.
Saudi Arabia still remain a major power on the oil front with almost double the amount of reserves than Iran.
Despite Iran’s overall military prowess being superior to Saudi Arabia’s, the potential for the US to intervene as well as the prospect of Russian missiles making their way to Riyadh mean Rouhani could be foolish to maintain his aggressive rhetoric.
Saudi Arabia has already promised a ‘forceful’ response, benefitting from the confidence that comes with having much of the West on your side.