September 19, 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned on Thursday that any U.S. or Saudi military strike on Iran will result in “all–out war.”
In an interview with CNN, Zarif said that Iran hoped to avoid conflict, and welcomed talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Negotiations with the United States however, remain off the table without full sanctions relief as promised under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Foreign Minister’s comments echo those of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who warned of “immediate” retaliation on Wednesday if Tehran is targeted over the attacks on Saudi oil fields.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans for “substantial new sanctions” against Iran on Wednesday, just days after the attacks. Trump stopped short of directly blaming Iran for Saturday’s simultaneous drone and missile attacks that crippled almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity.
WHO IS BEHIND THE ATTACKS?
Iran categorically denies responsibility for the attacks. The U.S. and Saudi governments have yet to provide solid evidence of where the attacks on the Saudi Oil refineries originated.
Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, but preliminary investigations by both the U.S and Saudi governments revealed that evidence points to Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo almost immediately discounted the Houthi rebels claims, blaming Iran for Saturday’s attacks via Twitter. While visiting Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Pompeo called the attack an “act of war.”
Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Turki al Malki said during a press conference Wednesday that weapons that missed their targets were found to be Iranian-made. Malki added the investigation revealed that the drones and missiles were likely launched from the north —not from the direction of Yemen.
Oil prices jumped on global markets Sunday night after Saturday’s drone attacks instantly erased half of Saudi Arabia ‘s oil production.
Market analysts said Monday President Trump’s statements on Twitter that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” to retaliate against those responsible for the attack on one of the world’s largest oil fields is adding to the dramatic climb in oil prices.
DRONES—Cheap and Effective
A Wall Street Journal report in May highlighted the evolving threat of cheap unmanned drones packed with explosives in the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
Steve Ganyard, a retired Colonel in the United State Marine Corps and ABC News contributor said on Sunday that drones are a very difficult asymmetric threat. Drones are hard to attack.
“These 10-20 thousand dollar drones are defeating air defense systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Ganyard added that the United States military is just rolling out the capabilities to take down these drones.
Since 2014, the Islamic State or ISIS has successfully employed drones to carry out attacks in Iraq and Syria. In August, the Israeli military carried out an air strike to thwart a “very imminent” Iranian drone strike.
SEE ALSO: TRUMP ORDERS MORE SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN