Tehran [Iran]: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday warned of an “all-out war” if the United States or Saudi Arabia launches military strikes in retaliation for the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities that have destroyed nearly 50 per cent of the Kingdom’s global supply of crude oil.
Iran willing to talk to Saudi Arabia: Zarif
In an exclusive interview to CNN, Zarif said that Iran hoped to avoid conflict and the country was willing to talk to its regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Upon being asked what would be the consequence of an American or Saudi strike, Zarif said: “All-out war.”
“I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” the Foreign Minister said.
“But the possibility of a return to negotiations with the US, however, would not happen unless Washington provided full sanctions relief as promised under the 2015 nuclear deal that the US had pulled out of last year,” he said.
Zarif denies Tehran’s involvement in attacks
Reiterating Tehran’s denial of involvement in the Saudi attacks once again, the Foreign Minister said Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attacks, have stepped up their military capabilities and are capable of conducting sophisticated operations.
However, without divulging any further details over the Houthi attacks, Zarif said: “I know that we didn’t do it. I cannot have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement.”
Zarif’s comments appeared to be in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who a day earlier while travelling to Saudi Arabia, referred to the attacks as an “act of war.”
Meanwhile, Pompeo met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Jiddah over Saturday’s attacks on a crucial oil processing facility and oil field, the New York Post reported.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he was moving to increase financial sanctions on Tehran over the attack.