Iran Envoy Warns of 'All-Out War'

Zarif asks if Saudi Arabia wants to 'fight Iran until the last American soldier'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2019 4:21 AM CDT
Iran Envoy Warns of 'All-Out War'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiles during a meeting Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.   (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

Any attack on Iran by the US or Saudi Arabia will spark an "all-out war," Tehran's top diplomat warned Thursday, raising the stakes as Washington and Riyadh weigh a response to a drone-and-missile strike on the kingdom's oil industry that shook global energy markets. The comments by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif represented the starkest warning yet by Iran in a long summer of mysterious attacks and incidents following the collapse of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the AP reports. They appeared to be aimed directly at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who while on a trip to the region earlier referred to Saturday's attack in Saudi Arabia as an "act of war." Zarif sought to expose current strains between the Americans and the Saudis under President Trump.

"I think it is important for the Saudi government to understand what they're trying to achieve. Do they want to fight Iran until the last American soldier?" Zarif asked in a CNN interview. Asked by the broadcaster what would be the consequence of a US or Saudi strike, Zarif bluntly said: "An all-out war," though he added that Iran doesn't "want to engage in a military confrontation." "We'll have a lot of casualties, but we won't blink to defend our territory," he said. Pompeo, who was in the United Arab Emirates, dismissed Zarif's remarks, saying: "I was here (doing) active diplomacy while the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all-out war to fight to the last American." Zarif is expected to travel to the US Friday ahead of next week's annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

(Read more Iran stories.)

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