Iran warns U.S. of ‘all-out war’ if attacked – The Washington Post
In an interview with CNN, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied that Tehran was involved in the attacks and warned that retaliatory strikes risked causing significant bloodshed on Iranian soil.
âI am making a very serious statement that we donât want to engage in a military confrontation,â Zarif said. âBut we wonât blink to defend our territory.â
After a two-hour discussion with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, Pompeo said the whole region knows that Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabia.
âI think itâs abundantly clear, and there is enormous consensus in the region that we know precisely who conducted these attacks, and itâs Iran,â Pompeo told reporters. âI didnât hear anyone in the region who doubted that for a single moment.â On Wednesday, he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
âWhile the foreign minister of Iran is threatening an all-out war and to fight to the last American, we are here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and peaceful resolution,â Pompeo added.
Regional tensions began escalating in May 2018, when President Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the United States.
In recent months, those hostilities have spilled into open violence. The Trump administration accuses Iran of using proxy forces to target Washingtonâs allies where they are most vulnerable: focusing on Saudi Arabiaâs energy infrastructure and Western-linked ships transiting the Persian Gulf and neighboring waters.
The attacks on Saudi ArabiaâsÂ Abqaiq andÂ Khurais oil facilities initially cut the kingdomâs production in half and caused a spike in global oil prices.
Both Washington and Riyadh have presented physical evidence and other details that they said bolstered their assertions of direct Iranian culpability.
But as tensions simmer,Â Trump himself has sent mixed signals over Washingtonâs willingness to respond with force.Â âThere are many options. Thereâs the ultimate option, and there are options a lot less than that,â the president told reporters in Los Angeles, while announcing a move to increase sanctions on Iran.
Pompeo, in his remarks Thursday, said more sanctions are needed to stop Iran.
âWe have set about a course of action to deny Iran the capacity and wealth and to prevent them from conducting their terror campaigns, and you can see from the events of last week there is still more work to do,â he said.
In a news conference Wednesday, a spokesman for the Saudi military, Col. Turki al-Malki, said Saturdayâs attack on the Abqaiq oil processing plant in eastern Saudi Arabia had involved 18 unmanned aerial vehicles. Seven cruise missiles, he added, were fired at a facility in Khurais, the site of one of the kingdomâs largest oil fields.
These were, he said, âunquestionably sponsored by Iran.â
âThis attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iranâs best effort to make it appear so; their collaboration with their proxy in the region to create this false narrative is clear,â Malki said, basing the assertion in part on the purported range of the weapons recovered, which he said could not have traveled from Houthi-held territory.
Saudi officials have not determined the location from where the weapons were launched.
Tehran is able to rely in varying degrees on a web of proxy forces from Yemen to Lebanon and Iraq, raising the stakes of any U.S. confrontation with Iran.
In Iran, officials have described the growing hostility as a direct response to U.S. sanctions, which are crippling Iranâs economy. Zarif said sanctions relief âcould change Tehranâs calculations, opening the possibility for talks.â
The Houthi rebel movement, which has been fighting a nearly five-year war against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, also reiterated its claim that it carried out the attacks with domestically designed weaponry.
âOur forces have reached a high level of efficiency and ability. They can manufacture various types of unmanned aerial vehicles in record time,â Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a news conference late Wednesday.
The Houthi claim has been met with strong skepticism from experts and government officials, especially in light of the nature of war-torn Yemenâs economy and industrial capacity.
âThe Houthis â¦ announced that they launched this attack. That lacks credibility,â French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a French TV station on Thursday. He also called the strikes an âact of war,â although he declined to speculate who was behind it.
Loveluck reported from Baghdad. Asser Khattab in Beirut contributed to this report.