U.S. 'posturing' by sending troops to Saudi Arabia, Iranian FM says 

Zarif: Whoever starts war will not be the one who finishes it

September 22, 2019

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said any country that starts a war against Iran  “will not be the one who finishes it”  as he said  the U.S. is "posturing" by sending troops and defense equipment to Saudi Arabia following the September 14 attacks on a major Saudi Arabia oil facility.

"I think it's posturing. I think it's all going the wrong direction in addressing this issue," Zarif said in response to a question on how Iran sees the development in an interview that was set to air Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the attack by the Yemenis on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field that adversely affected up to half of the supplies from the world’s biggest oil exporter.

President Donald Trump on Friday approved the deployment of U.S. troops and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the attacks were an "act of war" while Trump announced he would "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran.
Zarif denied that Iran had anything to do with the attacks and said if the United Nations launches an impartial investigation into the attack “the outcome will be that it was not launched from Iran"

“We are confident that if the United Nations carries out an impartial investigation the outcome will be that it was not launched from Iran," Zarif remarked.

The chief diplomat has already said linking Iran to the attack on the Saudi oil facilities is a “maximum deceit” in line with Washington’s “maximum pressure” on Tehran. On Friday, Zarif also said “even the Saudis themselves don't believe the fiction of Iranian involvement” in the attacks on the Aramco oil facilities, citing Saudi Arabia’s retaliation attack on Hodaideh in Yemen as a reason.

Asked by CBS if he was confident Iran could avoid a war, Zarif said, "I'm confident that we will not start one but I'm confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it."

"That means that there won't be a limited war," Zarif said, echoing his previous comments that a military strike on Iran by the United States or Saudi Arabia would result in an “all-out war."

Major General Hossein Salami, the chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), also threatened on Saturday that any country that attacks Iran will see its territory become the “main battlefield”. He added, “Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead.” The general also said Iran will claim responsibility for anything it does.

Zarif says U.S. made it clear he was not welcome at UN

Zarif also said that the U.S. made it clear he was not welcome at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City next week that he planned to attend, despite being approved for a visa waiver.

"Well not necessarily, because the United States is under obligation, being the host of the UN headquarters to issue visas to member states. So they made it very clear in a letter that they attached to my visa that I'm not eligible to get a visa, but they're doing it on a waiver basis. So they want me to know that I'm not supposed to be here," Zarif stated.

The United States under President Trump has put an extreme pressure on Iran. He abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 that was struck under his predecessor Barack Obama.

He has introduced a total ban on Iran’s oil export, Iran’s main source of income. Since abandoning the JCPOA, the Trump administration has been trying to strangulate the Iranian economy. Iran has called the U.S. sanctions pressure “economic terrorism”.

Trump on Friday said he has ordered sanctions on Iran’s central bank at “the highest level.”

Trump, who had initially imposed the sanctions applied to Iran’s “national bank,” said the new penalties on Iran mark the “highest sanctions ever imposed on a country.”

The president’s remarks at the White House came two days after he announced via Twitter that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!”

Zarif says Iran is “confident that if the United Nations carries out an impartial investigation into” the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, “the outcome will be that” the drones were “not launched from Iran." 

Many analysts believe that the regime of Benjamin Netanyahu is behind Trump’s illegal approach toward Iran. Netanyahu was one of the chief opponents of the nuclear deal and has been repeatedly claiming that Iran is bent on building nuclear weapons. 
Zarif has referred to recent remarks by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about how Israelis have played Trump, saying Tillerson’s remarks confirms that the B-Team took Trump for an “easy mark”.

“Even President Trump’s former Secretary of State now confirms what we have long pointed out: #B_Team took @realDonaldTrump for an easy mark who could be lied to and pushed to war—and the US military as their personal mercenary,” Zarif said in a tweet on Saturday.

“Some still do, despite his firing of one member,” he added.

Tillerson said on Wednesday that Israeli officials “played” Trump in their conversations with him, warning that a “healthy amount of skepticism” is needed in dealings with Netanyahu.

The comments came during a panel discussion at Harvard University in which Tillerson, who was fired by Trump last year, touched on a variety of themes from his tenure, including Iran, his hiring freeze at the State Department and the unpredictable nature of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu. 

“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,’” Tillerson said, according to the Harvard Gazette. “We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.’”

The “B-team” is a term thrown into popular usage by Zarif. It refers to a group of politicians who share an inclination toward potential war against Iran, and the letter “b” in their names. They include Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and, former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton. 
Bolton was fired on September 10.

PA/PA

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