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Iranian Foreign Minister: “I’m not confident that we can avoid a war”

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Iranian Foreign Minister: "I'm not confident that we can avoid a war"

ILLUSTRATIVE

On September 22nd, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif gave an interview to CBS News’ Margaret Brennan. In the interview Zarif spoke about Iranian views on the current situation and the accusations of the US and Saudi Arabia of it allegedly carrying out the attack on Aramco’s oil facilities on September 14th.

The full transcript of the interview can be found here.

Recently, Zarif received a visa to enter the US ahead of the 74th General Assembly of the UN, meaning that surely that means the US would like to sit down and talk to Iran.

Zarif clarified that it wasn’t the case, he is an individual sanctioned by the US Treasury and he only received a visa because the US, as the host of the General Assembly must allow all members of the UN to attend.

“Well not necessarily, because the United States is under obligation, being the host of the U.N. 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 said.

Commenting on the recent announcement that more US troops and equipment would be deployed to Saudi Arabia, Zarif said that this sort of posturing did little to help the situation, “I think what helps would be to end the war in Yemen.”

According to him, all of the equipment that was sold by the US, the UK and others to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to fight their war in Yemen was for nothing, since almost 5 years later they’ve completely failed to “defeat a group of people,” even more so – they’re losing the war.

“When the war in Yemen erupted over four years ago, we called for a ceasefire, immediate negotiations, humanitarian assistance and a formation of a broad-based government. Unfortunately, U.S. allies- Saudi Arabia, believed that they could win this war militarily within four weeks. That’s why they didn’t accept our offer to mediate between them and the others and to bring about a negotiated solution. Now four and a half years after that, we see that all that military equipment that the United States provided to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, all the military logistical support that the United States and some other Western countries provided, did not help defeat a group of people, the Yemenis, who are basically cut off from the rest of the world.”

Regarding the September 14th attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure, Brennan reminded that the US said there was no way the attack originated from Yemen; thus, the Houthis couldn’t have carried it out.

“Well it is difficult for the United States to explain why its state of the art equipment was not able to intercept these weapons.”

Zarif said that it was either the Houthis – because they accepted responsibility, or it could have been a false flag, then the US would need to investigate and find the culprit.

He simply denied Iran played any part.

Zarif refused to point the finger at any other party that could be behind the attack, simply saying that if the Houthis claimed responsibility, then they should be believed.

In addition, Saudi Arabia disregarded the UN-brokered ceasefire on al-Hudaydah and attacked the city with their fighter jets, which also leads to the assumption that they are responding to the Houthi attack.

“They did that because they all know where it came from, and how it should end is through an end to the killing of innocent children, women, elderly that has been going on. 100,000 people have been killed.”

Zarif refused to acknowledge the weapons that are being used by the Houthis are Iranian, instead saying that they were inherited from “Ali Abdullah Saleh bought with Saudi money during his- his long career as president.“

Brennan repeated US warnings that the missiles that struck Aramco’s facilities can be reverse-engineered, to which Zarif responded that they should do it – see what they find, since they didn’t originate from Iran.

Zarif said that any results of the UN investigation would be unacceptable, because they wouldn’t be impartial.

“We were not informed by the U.N. We were not consulted by the U.N. We do not know on what basis this has taken place. So we will take it up with the United Nations. We are confident that if the United Nations carries out an impartial investigation the- the outcome will be that it was not launched from Iran.”

He then mentioned that Saudi Arabia changed their allegations, from initially saying that the attack came from Iran, to accusing Iran of recruiting local population to carry out attacks on its behalf.

“It means that they are backtracking from the initial allegation that it’s coming from Iran. They are saying that it may come- have come from somewhere else but it was based on citizens being recruited by Iran to do this. So a lie falls apart sooner or later.”

Brennan then tried to accuse Iran of supporting militants, to which Zarif replied that Iran supports the Houthis, and the so-called “militants” in Iraq are part of the Iraqi government, which Israel continues attacking.

He then rejected her assumption that an Iranian-backed group launched the attacks from Iraq.

Moving on to US President Donald Trump and his alleged claims, Zarif said that anything regarding any talks “without preconditions” in the media are false.

He said that he spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron twice in three days.

“We have been talking to the French. I spoke to the French president twice in three days at length and we discussed it with him. The president- our president has been talking to the French president.

The United States has been reluctant to engage in what is required. Let me give you an example that President Trump would easily understand in transactional terms- in real estate terms. I buy a building from you and somebody inherits your company from you next year and he comes and tells me, “I didn’t sell that building to you. I need a higher price and a worse building.”

Would you buy it? Would anybody in, to use President Trump’s word, in any history buy this building? Do you have any example in any history, again to use his word, of anybody doing this?

He is asking us- we didn’t have a revolution in the United States. President Trump inherited a government from another administration that was legally elected as a United States government. And this agreement has been endorsed by the Security Council.

This agreement is in a Security Council resolution. Now last I heard, the United States sits in the Security Council as a permanent member.  It has not withdrawn. It withdrew from Human Rights Council.”

Zarif explained that the Iranian government was ready to talk, but not for something that would be valid for the next year and a half and then the next president would, similarly to Trump, walk back on any arrangements.

Brennan, referring to the JCPOA as “an old deal” was corrected by Zarif, saying that it is a “deal that exists now.”

“There is a negotiating room. There is a negotiating table. Wednesday at 8:30 in the morning. There will be six- four plus one plus one- six foreign ministers and one high representative of the European Union.”

He rejected any meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, because there was no reason for a meeting.

“And basically, Secretary Pompeo is prevented by law from meeting me because he designates me.”

Refuting the reports that the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini approved the attacks, Zarif simply said that if they came from Iran – they would need his approval, but they didn’t.

He said that diplomacy was needed, and that somebody was lying – be it the US or Saudi Arabia.

“I’m certainly- I’m certain that they’re being lied to, whether they want to accept that lie. I think the work of us diplomats- I think myself and my counterpart, the U.S. secretary of state, we need to try to push diplomacy, as Senator Sanders has recently said, not to push war.”

Zarif said that Iran had been in contact with Robert O’Brien, the newly appointed US National Security Adviser, on hostage exchange and that nothing came out of it. He said that the US prisoners in Iran are accused of something, while the Iranian prisoners in the US have been there for nine months without charges.

In conclusion, Zarif said that war might be unavoidable, but that Iran wouldn’t be the side to start it.

“Brennan: I’m being told we’re out of time but I just want to button this up and make clear here. Do you believe- are you confident that you can avoid a war?

Zarif: No. No, I’m not confident that we can avoid a war. We- 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.

Brennan: What does that mean?

Zarif: That means that there won’t be a limited war.”

In conclusion, Javad Zarif did present a fair bit of common sense, added to the typical Iranian rhetoric of not moving a single step back, especially when it comes to United States pressure.

He underlined some of the obvious hypocrisy of the US and Saudi Arabia, which is unlikely to change anything in discussions, or negotiations.

His attitude towards the new US National Security Adviser meant that it was possible to at least have discussions with Robert O’Brien in contrast with the hawkish John Bolton, who was part of the so-called “B Team,” heavily pushing towards war with Iran.

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  • ColinNZ

    The empire of arrogance has been exceptionally humiliated by the Houthis and that combined with their decades-old desire to bomb Iran into the stone age does not facilitate for their very sparse common sense to prevail. If the usual warmongering suspects get their way then all bets are off as to how widespread the catastrophe will be, but I’ll bet my last supper that the hegemon & it’s vassals will soon be wishing deeply that they had chosen a different path.

  • Tommy Jensen

    We were hoping the United States would lay their hand on our legs and enter into a dialogue and discussion about all our common problems and talk it over, and we will continue to be hoping because Science Technology have found many new problems.

    • AJ

      US doesnt do talk Tommy they just give orders & expect everyone to obey.

    • FlorianGeyer

      The free world, outside the US bubble of corruption and general stupidity, would prefer that the US refrained from ‘laying their bloody hands on any other nation, Tommy :)

  • Peter Jennings

    Foreign minister Mr Javad Zarif could not meet with pompious, because he isn’t really there. LOL
    The UN is a joke. It is thanks to the patience of some leaders that the world isn’t already full of holes. One may have guessed that these patient leaders do not dwell in the west.

    Pompious is the right man to oversee the demise of the america empire. The Trumpster should get the same kick out of firing pompious as he did out of bolt-on. Perhaps he is waiting a day when he needs something to cheer him up.

  • Boycott-Israel!

    If there is war, there’s going to be Hell Aviv & Hell Riyadh. However, I am confident that there will be no war! at least, until MBS is on the charge of Saudi-Zionistwahabi-Kingdom.

  • Toronto Tonto

    Iran will get what it deserves if it keeps being and helping terrorists .

    • Jacob Wohl

      damn right, brother!
      US Navy has a carrier group off the Saudi coast with 50 F-18s, 20 F-35s, and 10 Growler EW crafts ready to knock out every Iranian SAM site and military base. Add to that, over 500+ tomahawk missiles locked and loaded on the destroyers and subs lurking in the Arabian Sea

      • Jacob Wohl’s Nose

        go to your oven, now :)
        it has extra nasal space to accommodate your massive nose

      • Wolfgang Wolf

        blaaaaablablabla…. please let the CSG come to shallow waters of the gulf.. is like shooting sitting ducks….

      • AJ

        Iran has plenty of anti ship missiles hidden & waiting, US navy will keep its distance.

      • Scroll Down

        Look! Tel-Aviv’s elite Pedo-defence brigade has been deployed behind an impregnable wall of computer keyboards.

    • Jacob Wohl’s Nose

      ukrop go to the gulag, now :)

    • Wolfgang Wolf

      and your motherfucking Ukraine homecountry will freeze to death this winter)

    • Peter Jennings

      I’m afraid, it’s the US doing that and every man and his dog knows it too. Iran doesn’t derserve anything apart from respect as they haven’t attacked anyone. They haven’t invaded anywhere and haven’t cause billions of damage throughout the region and then conned their people into paying for it.
      Soon america will be a hell hole and then desperate americans will be migrating your way.

  • Jacob Wohl

    Iran has to realize they are in no position of superiority whatsoever. Not in any aspect. US Military has THAAD/Patriot protected airbases all over Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan with hundreds of F-15s, B-1 lancers, B-2 stealth bombers, B-52 bombers, F-16s, F-35s, and F-22s. Add to that the massive naval fleet US has off the Saudi Coast and the USS Abraham Lincoln! 2 carrier fleets with 140 F-18 superhornets, 40 F-35s, and 20 Growler Electronic Warfare craft! Add to that all the destroyers and submarines protecting those carriers in the Middle East with 800+ tomahawk missiles and AEGIS air defense systems! Just a single US carrier group will be able to knock out every major iranian military base and airfield within 1 hour. Then all iranian SAM sites will be hunted in a massive joint Navy-Airforce SEAD campaign carried out by F-18s. F-15s, F-35s, F-22s, B-2s and Growlers. USA=100% chance of victory, Iran=0%

    • Wolfgang Wolf

      oh my god, our sofa-pilot… what do you want with all your MIC-marketing blabla? your country is not even able to compete with barefeet Talibans in Afghanistan… so who is afraid? nobody….. keep your bs talking for your facebook followers…

      • Scroll Down

        Your country? I’d gladly wager OP is hasbara troll located in some comfy cube farm in Tel Aviv.

    • Jaime Alberto GALARZA CASTANED

      Out of respect for yourself, one would hope you would not mention that pile of rubbish called THAAD/Patriot, which failed miserably a few days ago. But people like you are absolutely shameless. In regards to all the other systems you mentioned, we’ll, it seems they don’t help much vis-a-vis the Talibans. BTW, didn’t you have the same advantage against Vietnam? How did that finish?

    • AJ

      The majority of Irans missiles are mobile well hidden in mountain ranges & underground. Sure the US would inflict a lot of damage but do you think the Saudis will have any oil industry left when the missiles start to fly. Do you think the oil price & world economy will survive an extended conflict. The Iranians dont need to win they just need to resist & employ asymmetric tactics. US would not be able to win purely from an air campaign alone. The US would need to invade to take down Iran & we all know thats not on the cards.

    • Rhodium 10

      Iran and Houttis = 100% chance of Victory, USA and Saudi Arabia= 0%……Iran has hundred of cruise missile ( copy of KH-55) and thousands of Drones….just only have to attack Patriot battery ( which Russia surely has provided coordinates)…..once Patriot have been wipe off…hundred of ballistic missile rain over US bases in Gulf States….Not and easy task for USA!…

    • PZIVJ

      Will you still keep posting BS, after Jacob Wohl goes to Chino state prison for securities fraud?
      Any attack on Iran will close off the Hormuz straits and world oil exports from the Persian gulf.
      You think like an idiot. :)

    • Jacob Wohl’s Nose

      your nose, it’s growing uncontrollably. please seek US military help to shrink it
      each lie grows your nose by 1 inch, by now you’re at 1000 inches

    • Bob

      The United States has not waged, nor won, a war against a serious adversary since 1945. This notion of relying on technology to effortlessly win wars is bogus public relations spin – developed by US politicians and military-industrial concerns in wake of the US national trauma over Vietnam and scale of US conscription casualties. In reality, the vast majority of post-1945 US military adventurism has been against adversaries of the banana republic category. However, then there is the southeast Asian theater – when the US moved into north Korea, the Chinese routed them, and when the US fully inserted themselves into Vietnam, they left defeated and demoralized a decade later. Currently, the US is trapped in a stalemate they cannot win in Afghanistan – and US wants out but they cannot find a way to do so with a public admission of defeat – so they just blunder on in the decision paralysis they have created for themselves. The US war in Afghanistan is a textbook study of gross public mismanagement – continuing to take US casualties simply to preserve the egos of public state officials.

    • Paul

      And dogs like you would support it

    • Hisham Saber

      Spoken like a child.

      With all that equipment you refer to, how come the U.S. couldn’t save Saudi oil fields and refineries from basic cruise missiles and slow moving, low altitude drones?

      If the U.S. starts a war with Iran, it’s forces in the Middle East will be enveloped and that will be the end of that. The U.S. would be walking into a lions den.

      Israel would be flattened, with not even enough time to allow Netanyahu to escape to the Ukraine.

      • Jacob Wohl

        that’s why Israel and the USA have nuclear weapons, baby :)

        • Hisham Saber

          Israel and the U.S. don’t have a monopoly on nuclear weapons.

          Iran can unleash an economic Armageddon that’s equivalent to nukes by destroying the Petro-dollar and cr5ashing the Jewish/U.S. global monetary scheme in short order with her enormous amount of ballistic missiles. Iran could strike and destroy for good all oil and gas infrastructure in a 2000 km radius, officially. Unofficially even further away than that.

          Iran and North Korea are good, tight friends, and share technology, specially missile tech.

          Your a fan of Israel I see. Well im sorry to tell you that Iran has ever square foot/meter of the apartheid state mapped out for ballistic missile bombardment in redundancy. Using high explosive warheads that range up to 2000 lb’s. Israels Achilles heel is it has no strategic depth to speak of. Its tiny. Basically a sliver off land that would be quickly overwhelmed and annihilated with conventional weapons alone.

          Besides, if push came to shove, I bet Iran could assemble nukes in no time at all if need be. Islamic law says you fight your enemy as he fights you. So the religious edict forbidding the use of nuclear weapons by Iran imposed by the highest religious authorities can easily be annulled or reversed.

          In the event Iran is attacked, Israel will be lost, U.S. , Britain and France would be defeated and expelled from the entire MENA region, to be replaced by China, Russia, and the Jewish dollar system would be obsolete for all time.

          The 21st century and beyond would belong to the Chinese, who are peaceful, don’t believe in hegemony and belligerence. The Chinese , through their OBR speak in terms of a ‘ win-win ‘ scenario to member states who join her in free trade, respectful cultural exchanges, peace and harmony.

          The west will quickly fall into third world status. Israeli Jews will either be dead, or run off to the Ukraine and the U.S.

  • Icarus Tanović

    Masks are falling and Saudis Wahhabi scum and pigs going down and nowhere else but down. They’ve almost losted a win-win War in Yemen.
    Screw you, punks.

  • Johan

    Hypocriet Iran, it is afraid that UN find that Iran was the origine of the attack on Saoudi petrolindustrie, so they reject prematurely the UN findings by the way admitting their act. Now that even the most careful European countries agree that Iran is to blame for the attack I think the typical Iran cheating trick ( shoot and deny as a baby) will nt work this time. They are expossed again ,after the Adrian Darya, as un trust worthy, laying and cheating not capable of been treated as a respectful opponent

  • jm74

    No point in Iran trying to justify their non involvement in the saudi attack; what should be stated is if the West wants to base their intentions on war based on false and fabricated evidence then so be it but be warned that a global economic crash with millions of casualties would be the result. Don’t blame Iran for their own biased and weak integrity.

  • Joe Kerr

    Two things that make Trump reluctant to attack Iran- the ease with which Iran can take down U.S. drones and the ease with which Houthi drones/missiles evaded U.S. supplied Saudi air defences. Israel would be concerned about this as well, as Iran wouldn’t need nukes to totally destroy Israel and all U.S. bases within range. The only hope for the U.S. military against Iran is a massive nuclear first strike, and hope that Russia/China stay out. That’s a gamble that the Chosen One may take next year if he thinks he’ll lose the White House- start a war and declare marshall law.