UPDATED 9:13 AM PT — Thursday, September 19, 2019
The foreign minister of Iran waters the seeds of war amid reports Tehran was behind the Saudi oil facility attacks. During an interview Thursday, Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is prepared for a “all out war” if any nation were to strike.
Zarif also doubled down on Iran’s position that it had no involvement in the strike on the Aramco site. When asked, however, Zarif couldn’t provide any evidence otherwise. The minister went on to say Iran has nothing to gain from attacking Saudi Arabia and wants stability in the region.
“An all out war…I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I’m making a very serious statement that we don’t want war, we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation. We believe a military confrontation based on deception is awful…it would have a lot of casualties.”
— Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister – Iran
Moving forward, Zarif said Iran would only consider talks with the U.S. if they are given full sanctions relief.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is “abundantly clear” that Iran was behind the Aramco attacks. He made the remarks while speaking from Abu Dhabi. Pompeo landed in the UAE early Thursday morning for talks with the Crown Prince, who is also the deputy supreme commander of UAE armed forces. The stop was the second in the secretary’s Middle Eastern tour after Saudi Arabia.
Following the meeting, Pompeo called the discussions “productive’.”
“I was sent here to work to make sure that I understood how our friends and allies here in the region were viewing the challenge and the threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he stated. “I think it’s abundantly clear and there is an enormous consensus in the region that we know precisely who conducted these attacks was Iran…I didn’t hear anybody in the region who doubted that for a single moment.”
Pompeo is now expected to head back to Washington, where he says he will give President Trump important information about how the U.S. should think about proceeding.