Iran threatens 'all-out war' if attacked

Iran threatens 'all-out war' if attacked
© ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iran on Thursday threatened an "all-out war" if the U.S. or Saudi Arabia launches military strikes against it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN that Tehran does not want war, stressing that Iran was not responsible for the attacks on Saudi oil refineries over the weekend.

"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," said Zarif.

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"But we won't blink to defend our territory," he added.

Tensions in the region have been high since two Saudi oil refineries were hit by drones and cruise missiles on Saturday, affecting roughly 5 percent of the global crude output.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have put the blame on Iran for the strikes. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard Pompeo2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Netanyahu calls Trump administration reversal on Israeli settlements a 'huge achievement' UN pushes back on US reversal on Israeli settlements MORE on Wednesday declared the attacks an "act of war" by Iran.

Tehran has denied those allegations, while Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed they are responsible for the attacks.

Zarif also said on Thursday that the Houthis were responsible, but could not make a definitive link to the rebels when pressed by CNN.

"I cannot have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement," said Zarif. "I know that we didn't do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it."

He added that a military response based on "deception" about the weekend attacks would cause "a lot of casualties."

Zarif also spoke to CNN about the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that Iran would not renegotiate an agreement with the U.S. without sanctions relief.

The nuclear deal "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," said Zarif.

"If they lift the sanctions that they re-imposed illegally then that's a different situation," he added. "Then we would consider [talks]."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE last year withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era agreement, which promised sanctions relief for Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program, and reimposed sanctions.