Iran warns of 'all-out war' if US attacks

Published: Sep 20, 2019, 10:21 IST | Agencies | Dubai

Foreign minister, further pushing up tensions across the Persian Gulf, says 'we won't blink to defend our territory'

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. File pic/ AFP
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. File pic/ AFP

Dubai: Iran's foreign minister warned Thursday that any attack on his country over a drone-and-missile strike on Saudi Arabia's oil industry will result in "all-out war," further pushing up tensions across the Persian Gulf.The comments by Mohammad Javad Zarif represent the starkest warning offered yet by Iran in a long summer of mysterious attacks and incidents following the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers, over a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew US from the accord.

Zarif's comments also appeared to be in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who a day earlier while travelling to Saudi Arabia referred to the attack as an "act of war." Asked by CNN what would be the consequence of a US or Saudi strike, Zarif said: "All-out war." "We won't blink to defend our territory," he said.

'Saudi has right to defend'

Pompeo tweeted Thursday after his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah over Saturday's drone and cruise missile attack on a crucial oil processing facility and oil field. Pompeo called the attacks "unprecedented." "The US stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself," he said. "The Iranian regime's threatening behaviour will not be tolerated."

'Need peaceful resolution'

Pompeo, during his visit to the UAE on Thursday, said he preferred a "peaceful resolution" to a crisis sparked by attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, as Iran warned against "all-out war". "I hope Iran sees it the same way," Pompeo told reporters after talks with the leaders of the UAE.
During the meeting between Pompeo and Prince Salman, the kingdom's de-facto ruler who has said the assault poses a "real test" of global will at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, the two sides agreed "the Iranian regime must be held accountable for its continued aggressive, reckless, and threatening behaviour," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

Iran Prez approved Saudi strike: report

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil sites, CBS News reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed US official.
Without giving specifics about the US official, CBS said Khamenei approved the attack only on condition that it be carried out in a way to deny Iranian involvement. US officials quoted said the most damning evidence against Iran is unreleased satellite photos showing Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps making preparations for the attack at Iran's Ahvaz air base.

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