Pompeo says Iran responsible for Saudi attacks

Clay Curtis
September 21, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN Thursday that if the United States or Saudi military strike the country, the outcome would be an "all-out war".

The Iranian government threatened the United States with a "harsh and immediate response" to any attack targeting Iran against the backdrop of the attack on the two oil installations of the company "Saudi Aramco", according to the official agency IRNA.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to leave for NY early Friday to attend the UN General Assembly, his ministry said, after reports he may not be granted a visa.

Saudi investigators have collected fragments from 25 drones and cruise missiles used in the attacks, with Defense Ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki saying there's no question Iran was responsible. In his follow up statement, Zarif said Iran doesn't want war but added, "We won't blink to defend our territory".

Zarif has in the past said that a so-called "B-team" including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi's crown prince could goad the US president into a conflict with Tehran.

"I know that we didn't do it".

"I hope the USA government realizes that they are no longer the only economic superpower in the world and that there are many countries that want to benefit from the Iranian market", Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media.

Zarif, speaking to CNN on Thursday, warned that any attacks on Iran will result in an "all-out war".

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He denied that the instruction was meant to delay action being taken. "This is only the beginning of a major battle", he said. The team had argued that the plant operators could have prevented the disaster had they implemented anti-tsunami measures.

Iran says its foreign minister will attend next week's United Nations General Assembly meeting in NY, amid doubts about whether the USA would give him a visa, AP said.

The new violence has led to fears that further action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider region in recent months.

The fresh sanctions target the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under other USA sanctions, the National Development Fund of Iran - the country's sovereign wealth fund - and an Iranian company that US officials say is used to hide financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.

Iran's foreign minister on Saturday denounced renewed US sanctions against its central bank as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of USA desperation.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on September 24, 2018, one day before the start of General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in NY.

Iran and the United States have been at loggerheads since May past year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of "maximum pressure".

Iran has ruled out talks with Washington unless it returns to the pact.

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