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US, Saudi strikes on Iran would trigger 'all-out war', Zarif warns

Mohammad Javad Zarif warned of an 'all-out war'. [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 September, 2019

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with US media that Iran doesn't want a war but 'won't blink' to defend itself.

Iran's foreign minister has said a military strike on his country would trigger "all-out war", as the US and its Gulf allies accuse Iran of being behind attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Asked about the consequence of "an American or Saudi military strike on Iran" in an interview with CNN aired on Thursday, Mohammed Javad Zarif responded: "An all-out war." 

"We don't want war, we don't want to engage in a military confrontation," he said, warning it would lead to "a lot of casualties". 

"But we won't blink to defend our territory," he added.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for Saturday's strikes on Saudi oil infrastructures, but Washington said it has concluded the attack involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounts to "an act of war".

Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war in neighbouring Yemen, has said Iran "unquestionably sponsored" the attacks and the weapons used in them were Iranian-made, but has not directly blamed its regional rival.

"They're making that up," said Zarif. 

"Now they want to pin the blame on Iran, in order to achieve something, and that is why I'm saying this is agitation for war." 

[Click to enlarge]

"Because it's based on lies, it's based on deception," he said.

The attacks on Saudi energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield halved the kingdom's oil output. 

Iran has repeatedly denied US and Saudi accusations that it arms the Houthis.

Earlier on Thursday French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cast doubt on the ability of Yemen's Houthi rebels to carry out an attack of that scale and range on Saudi Arabia, saying their claim "lacks credibility".

UN experts are on their way to Saudi Arabia to probe the weekend blasts as part of the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran

The 2015 resolution, endorsing the nuclear deal from which US President Donald Trump has withdrawn, authorised UN experts to investigate suspected discoveries of Iranian military hardware.

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