Iranian FM warns US or Saudi attack would trigger 'all-out war'

Published September 19, 2019
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. — AFP/File
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. — AFP/File

Iran's foreign minister has said a military strike on Iran would trigger “all-out war”, as the United States 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, Mohammad 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 Huthi rebels have claimed responsibility for Saturday's strikes on Saudi oil infrastructures, but the US says 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.”

“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 Huthis.

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