Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Military Service Chiefs at Downing Street in London, Thursday Sept. 19, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Pool via AP)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday blamed Iran for the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and said that the U.K. would consider taking part in U.S.-led military actions to support Saudi defenses.
While flying to New York late Sunday for the U.N. General Assembly, Johnson told reporters "the U.K. is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran" for the attack by drones and cruise missiles.
"We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region," Johnson said.
The Conservative leader previously held back from attributing blame for the drone and missile attack, though Saudi Arabia and the United States said Iran was responsible.
Johnson said he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at this week's high-level U.N. gathering. European nations, including Britain, still adhere to an international deal designed to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions, but Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the agreement.
Johnson stressed diplomacy in dealing with the tensions in the Gulf region but said Britain would consider any request for military help.
The United States announced last Friday that it will deploy more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran's increasingly aggressive behavior in the region, top military officials said.
"We will be following that very closely," Johnson said. "And clearly if we are asked, either by the Saudis or by the Americans, to have a role, then we will consider in what way we could be useful. We will consider in what way we could be useful, if asked, depending on what the exact plan is."
A U.K. official told The Associated Press that a claim of responsibility for the attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen was "implausible." He said remnants of Iran-made cruise missiles were found at the attack site, and "the sophistication points very, very firmly to Iranian involvement." He spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings.
Iran denies responsibility and has warned any retaliatory attack targeting it will result in an "all-out war."
The Associated Press and Fox News' Melissa Leon and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.