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Israel Points Finger at Iran’s Khamenei in Saudi Hit as It Eyes Gulf Ties

Ivan Levingston

(Bloomberg) -- Israel’s top diplomat said the cruise missiles and drones that disabled key Saudi Arabian oil facilities, leading to the largest-ever surge in oil prices, were launched from Iran on the orders of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz reiterated long-standing support for President Donald Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure on Iran.

“We must stop Iran today, in order to prevent war tomorrow,” Katz said in his address.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and European partners in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have blamed Tehran for the Sept. 14 strike on the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected accusations that their armed forces were responsible for the assault, which was initially claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has warned that any U.S. or Saudi military strike on Iran in retaliation for the Saudi attack would lead to “all-out war.”

While the international forum is a favorite stage for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance his case against Iran, he did not attend this year’s event for the first time since 2010. He remained in Israel, where he’s trying to build a coalition after an inconclusive election last week -- the second time Israeli voters went to the polls this year.

Katz also used his speech to raise Israel’s pursuit of peace agreements with its Arab neighbors, who share a mutual enemy in Iran. He named high-tech, agriculture and water technology as areas where Israel could help the Gulf states.

“Israel has a clear policy to advance ties, and normalization with the Arab Gulf States,” Katz said. “We have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests.”

--With assistance from David Wainer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ivan Levingston in New York at ilevingston@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Bill Faries, John Harney

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