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Thursday Sep 19 2019

Saudi-US possible attack on Iran would trigger 'all-out war': FM Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, September 2, 2019. AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev

A possible attack — or a military strike — on Iran either by Saudi Arabia or the United States or both would trigger an "all-out war", Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview aired Thursday, as Washington, Riyadh, and their Gulf allies accuse Tehran of being behind attacks on the Kingdom's oil facilities.

FM Zarif, when asked about the consequence of "an American or Saudi military strike on Iran" in an interview with CNN, responded saying: "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", the Zarif clarified that "we won't blink to defend our territory."

Although Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for Saturday's strikes on Saudi oil infrastructures, the US maintained that the attack involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounts to "an act of war".

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia — which has been bogged down in a five-year war in neighbouring Yemen — said Iran "unquestionably sponsored" the attacks and the weapons used in them were made in Tehran but did not directly blame 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 Houthis.