Sep 19, 2019 - World

Foreign minister warns of "all-out war" if Iran is attacked

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Photo: Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warns of "all-out war" if anyone attacks Iran, but Zarif emphasizes Iran does not want war with anyone, during an interview with CNN.

"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 military confrontation. We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful. [It] will have a lot of casualties, but we won't blink to defend our territory."
ā€” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

Why it matters: Zarif's words are the "starkest warning offered yet by Iran" after a tense summer with the United States and Saudi Arabia, reports AP.

The big picture: During the interview, Zarif also repeatedly denied Iran's involvement in Saturday's attacks against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials have blamed Iran for the attacks. A Pentagon report on the incident is expected today.

  • Zarif claims the Saudi government is leading a "disinformation campaign," and they want to "pin the blame on Iran in order to achieve something."

Yes, but Zarif pointed to the Iranian-backed Houth rebels in Yemen, saying they had released a statement claiming responsibility.

  • When asked about the sophistication of the weapons, Zarif said people can get creative when they're desperate.

What he's saying: "I think it's important for the Saudi government to understand what they want to achieve. Do they want to fight Iran to the last American soldier? Is that their aim? Because if they want that to be their aim, they can be assured this won't be the case. Because Iran will defend itself."

Go deeper: Saudi coalition says Iranian weapons used in oil attacks

Go deeper