TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran avoids being engaged in a military confrontation, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, but made it clear that Iranians won’t blink to defend their territory.
In an interview with CNN, Zarif once again rejected the accusations that Iran was involved in recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, and warned the warmongers against the consequences of a military action.
Asked what the consequence of a US or Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Zarif said, “All-out war.”
“I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif stressed, adding that a military response based on “deception” about the Saudi oil attacks would cause “a lot of casualties.”
“But we won’t blink to defend our territory,” he underscored.
The top Iranian diplomat said Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, who claimed responsibility for the attacks, have stepped up their military capabilities and are capable of conducting a sophisticated operation such as the one that knocked out half of the kingdom’s energy production.
“I cannot have any confidence that they (Houthis) did it because we just heard their statement… I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it,” Zarif noted.
He further dismissed the possibility of negotiating with the US administration, unless the US were to give Iran the full sanctions relief promised under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“(The JCPOA) is an agreement that we reached with the United States. Why should we renegotiate? Why should we start something else which may again be invalid in a year and a half,” he stated.
“If they (the US) lift the sanctions that they re-imposed illegally then that’s a different situation,” said Zarif. “Then we would consider (talks).”
“They’ve done whatever they could and they haven’t been able to bring us to our knees,” the foreign minister went on to say.
He also decried the US for obstructing the Iranian delegation’s visit to New York for an upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly, saying, “(The US officials) haven’t issued visas for the advanced team of our President. That makes it very difficult for him to go.”
Asked if time has already run out, he added, “Well I am not saying too late but it is very near too late.”
Iran’s top diplomat — who spent several years in the United States as a student and later as UN ambassador — said he misses little about the country that now has him on its sanctions list. But he says he longs for the days of “rational” policymaking.
“What I miss is rationality. What I miss is prudence. I think the US deserves to be more rational,” Zarif concluded.