Iran’s foreign minister has warned of “all-out war” in the event of US or Saudi military strikes against his country, and questioned whether Saudi Arabia was prepared to fight “to the last American soldier.”
Javad Zarif told CNN that Iran hoped to avoid conflict, adding that the country was willing to talk to its regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But Iran would not hold talks with the US unless Washington provided full relief from sanctions as promised under the 2015 nuclear deal, Tehran’s top diplomat said.
He again denied that Iran was involved in weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which dramatically ratcheted up tensions in the region. Zarif said Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attack, have stepped up their military capabilities and were capable of conducting a sophisticated operation such as the one that knocked out half of the kingdom’s energy production.
Probed further, however, Zarif was unable to provide proof that Houthis launched the drones and missiles. “I cannot have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement,” said Zarif. “I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it.”