U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes part in a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 19, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via POOL / REUTERS
It would cause “a lot of casualties,” he stressed.
“I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif said. “But we won’t blink to defend our territory.”
He added that any sanctions placed by the U.S. on Iran after pulling out of the nuclear deal would need to be lifted before any negotiations could be considered.
The recent attack on Saudi oil facilities was approved by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement, a U.S. official told CBS News.
“The U.S. stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself,” Pompeo tweeted. “The Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated.”
Pompeo did not elaborate. President Trump has been noncommittal on whether he would order U.S. military retaliation. He said separately Wednesday that he is moving to increase financial sanctions on Tehran over the attack, without elaborating. Iran already is subject to a crushing American sanctions program targeting its crucial oil industry.