(September 19, 2019 / JNS) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is threatening an “all-out war” if America retaliates militarily in response to Iran attacking two Saudi Aramco oil facilities on Sept. 14.
Zarif told CNN that Iran seeks to avoid conflict and would be willing to negotiate with rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but not with the United States until Washington lifts sanctions that were reimposed after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018.
“If they lift the sanctions that they reimposed illegally, then that’s a different situation,” said Zarif. “Then we would consider [talks].”
He denied that Iran was behind Saturday’s attack.
In response to Zarif’s comments, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is returning to the United States from Saudi Arabia, where he met with leaders there in the aftermath of the attack, said, “While the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all-out war and to fight to the last American, we’re here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution to this. That’s my mission set, what [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump certainly wants me to work to achieve, and I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way. There’s no evidence of that from his statement, but I hope that that’s the case.”
Without specifying, Pompeo mentioned that “there will be more sanctions” against Iran.
“We have set about a course of action to deny Iran the capacity and the wealth so that they can conduct their terrorist—to prevent them from conducting their terror campaigns,” he said. “And you can see from the events of last week, there’s still more work to do. We’re going to continue to drive towards that end.”
On Wednesday, Trump announced that he has ordered the U.S. Treasury Department to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran.
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