Zarif: Military Strike Against Iran Would Result in “All-Out War”

DUBAI (Reuters) -
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

Any U.S. or Saudi military strike against Iran would result in “all-out war,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

“I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want war; we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation. … But we won’t blink to defend our territory,” Zarif told CNN in an interview.

Asked what the consequence of an American or a Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Zarif said “an all-out war.”

The United States has been discussing with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies possible responses to an attack on Saudi oil facilities on Saturday, which they blame on Iran, and which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as an act of war on the kingdom.

Zarif had earlier warned on Twitter that what he described as the B team – including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – was deceiving President Donald Trump into a war against Iran.

Trump struck a cautious note on Wednesday. He said there were many options short of war with Iran, which denies involvement in the Sept. 14 strikes that initially halved Saudi oil output. He ordered increased sanctions on Tehran.

Zarif also said in a tweet on Thursday that Pompeo was trying to delay issuing visas for the Iranian delegation to the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

Trump said he is not looking to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a U.N. event in New York this month.