Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gestures during a press conference in Tehran, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran Doesn't Want Conflict, Says Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, But Any US-Saudi Attack Would Spark 'All-Out War'

"We don't want war. We don't want to engage in a military confrontation. But we won't blink to defend our territory."

Jake Johnson

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned Thursday that while his nation does not desire military conflict, any attack by the United States or Saudi Arabia would spark "an all-out war" in the Middle East.

"We don't want war. We don't want to engage in a military confrontation," Zarif said in an exclusive interview with CNN. "But we won't blink to defend our territory."

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities this past weekend, but Iran has denied any involvement.

Zarif told CNN that he does not know who was responsible for the incident and accused the U.S. and Saudi Arabia of falsely pointing fingers at Iran.

"We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful, will have a lot of casualties," said Zarif. "We have never started a war. Go back through the history. We never started a war, any war, in the past 250 years. We don't plan to start another war. It's not in our interest to start a war because we are content with our size, with our geography, with our natural resources, with our human resources, with our strength."

"We believe that we do not need war in this region," Zarif added. "We believe that we need dialogue, we need cooperation, we need confidence-building in this region."


Zarif's comments came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi oil facilities "an act of war" during a meeting with Saudi leaders on Wednesday.

In a tweet responding to Pompeo's comment, Zarif accused Pompeo and the Saudis of "agitation for war."

"For their own sake, they should pray that they won't get what they seek," said Zarif. "They're still paying for much smaller Yemen war they were too arrogant to end four years ago."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'When You Don't Change People's Lives, People Get Upset,' Says AOC

To reverse slump in Democratic approval ratings, the congresswoman said Biden should start by cancelling student loan debt.

Julia Conley ·

Sioux Tribe Withdraws as Cooperating Agency Over Dakota Access Pipeline Threat

"The prospect of an oil spill during such low water is truly scary," says the tribe's Water Resources Department administrator.

Jessica Corbett ·

New Report Shows How US Transportation System 'Fuels Inequality'

Favoring cars over public transit has "consequences for racial and economic justice, the environment, and more," the Institute for Policy Studies warns.

Brett Wilkins ·

Gas Stoves Even Worse for Climate, Health Than Previously Thought

New study shows methane leaks from U.S. gas-burning stoves have a climate impact comparable to emissions from about 500,000 cars.

Jessica Corbett ·

Exiting Breyer Quotes Lincoln: 'We Are Now Engaged in a Great Civil War'

The Supreme Court justice appeared to be "pointedly talking about threats facing the country," said one observer.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo