Iran’s foreign minister has warned that any attack on his country after a series of missile strikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry would result in “all-out war”.
Javad Zarif also demanded that Riyadh hand over the evidence that it claimed proved the attack came from Iran, and not from Houthi-occupied Yemen.
His remarks came as the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, became the first prominent European politician to suggest it was “not very credible” that the attack was mounted by the Houthis, as the rebels engaged in the civil war in Yemen have claimed.
France has sent intelligence analysts to examine – alongside UN experts – the Saudi claims that the attack came from the north using technology and weaponry only available to Iran.
Zarif’s threat of conflict in an interview with CNN appeared to be in response to the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who referred to the attack as an “act of war”.
“I make a very serious statement about defending our country,” Zarif said. “I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation.”
According to CNN, Zarif was unable to provide proof that Houthis launched the drones and missiles. “I cannot have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement,” he said. “I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it.”
Zarif continued: “If they [the US] lift the sanctions that they re-imposed illegally then that’s a different situation, then we would consider [talks].”
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