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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."
— 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

3 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."