Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says a possible military strike against his country by the United States or Saudi Arabia will unleash an “all-out” war in the region.
Asked what the consequence of a US or Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Zarif said: “All-out war.”
“I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif said, adding that a military response based on “deception” about the weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations would cause “a lot of casualties,” and he said “We won’t blink to defend our territory.”
He denied Tehran’s involvement in attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, saying that Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement, which claimed responsibility for the attack, has stepped up its military capabilities and is now capable of conducting a sophisticated operation such as the one that knocked out half of the kingdom’s energy production.
“I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it,” Zarif said.
“Tens of billions of dollars of air defenses without any external assistance and took out 19 targets. That’s a big ask for people to believe.” CNN reporter said.
Responding to CNN reporter’s surprise at the Yemeni ability and complexity of recent operations, Zarif said, ” Well, you see, if you want to make your calculations based on this, Saudi Arabia should have been able to win this war against this group of besieged people, exactly when they thought they would, four weeks after they started the war. But it’s four and a half years. They have not been able to bring the Yemenis to their knees.
CNN reporter said: “But that is a different argument to resisting an invading army on the ground. It’s different to getting technology out of nowhere, it seems, and managing to evade state of the art tens of billions of dollars, American assisted air defenses. That’s a different argument.” ZARIF responded: “Well, I mean, then you should go and find the problem with the state of the art American air defense, not with the Houthis. I mean you believe that the United States is omnipotent and the United States military equipment are flawless. And that is why you’re a bunch of people with no access to anything, cannot defeat that.”
He added “But I can tell you, I mean, it’s going to be news for you and it’s going to continue to be news for you, that people can do a lot of things when they are desperate, when they see their kids killed, when they see their kids maimed, when they see their wives bombarded, their houses, their hospitals, their schools destroyed. That gives you a lot of creativity, a lot of tenacity to go and search for yourself. This is exactly how we did it. How do you think we built all of this? Huh? How do you think we built the missile system that brought down a U.S. drone? We were not supported by anybody. We were not given any equipment. We were not given any means of defending ourselves. We went through eight years of war. Nobody gave us means of defense.”
Zarif: “Iran wants security in the region. Iran wants stability in the region. Iran does not want war. Iran want an end to all wars. 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? Is that their aim? Because if that is the aim, they can be assured that this won’t be the case.”
CNN interviewer: Why?
ZARIF: “Because Iran will defend itself.”