Macron looks to mediate US-Iran tensions

AP — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

France’s president says he still hopes to mediate between Iran and the U.S. to help ease tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Speaking to reporters flying with him to the United Nations in New York Sunday, Emmanuel Macron said he remains “cautious” in attributing responsibility for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Britain blame Iran for the attacks.

As President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are taking part to the high-level U.N. meetings, Macron said “both protagonists are there … Something may happen.”

Trump has suggested he is open to meeting the Iranian leader.

Macron has taken a leading role in efforts to try to save a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, following Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the deal and impose new sanctions.

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11:05 a.m.

Iran’s president says his country will offer its own rival security coalition in the Persian Gulf, as the U.S. sends more troops to Saudi Arabia and heads its own regional military coalition.

Hassan Rouhani, before traveling to attend the U.N. meetings, said Monday that Iran will invite “all littoral states of the Persian Gulf” to join its coalition “to guarantee the region’s security.”

He says the initiative is not limited to “security” but also encompasses economic cooperation and will be presented in detail at the United Nations.

Rouhani describes the coalition as a plan for “long-term” peace in the area.

The proposal comes amid heightened Mideast tensions following a series of attacks, including a missile-and-drone assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry that U.S. alleges Iran was behind. Tehran denies the charge and has warned against retaliatory strikes.

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8:30 a.m.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain has concluded Iran was responsible for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, and the U.K. will consider taking part in a U.S.-led military effort to bolster the Gulf kingdom’s defenses.

But Johnson also says the U.K. will work with allies to “de-escalate” Mideast tensions.

The Conservative prime minister told reporters flying with him Sunday to New York for the U.N. General Assembly that Britain “is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran” for the Sept. 14 attack by drones and cruise missiles.

Saudi Arabia and the U.S. also blame Iran.

The Pentagon announced Friday it will send additional U.S. troops and missile defense equipment to the region. Johnson said, if asked, the U.K. would “consider in what way we could be useful.”