USA and Gulf allies discuss response to Saudi oil attack

Saudi-US possible attack on Iran would trigger all-out war: FM Zarif

Saudi Attack: Houthi Rebels Say Country's Government Lying

Speaking from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attack, telling reporters that the strike was "an act of war".

FM Zarif, when asked about the outcome of "an American or Saudi military strike on Iran" in an interview with CNN, responded saying: "An all-out war".

"I am making a very serious statement that we don't want war; we don't want to engage in a military confrontation".

Warning it would lead to "a lot of casualties", the Zarif clarified that "we won't blink to defend our territory".

Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack, saying it is over the yearslong Saudi-led war there that's killed tens of thousands of people.

"We are here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution".

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The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted an intelligence service building in the city of Qalat. "We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with officials to determine the facts".

The United States has issued visas allowing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to travel to NY for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations next week, Iran's UN mission said on Thursday. "We believe a military confrontation based on deception is very would have a lot of casualties." .

Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest exporter of oil, and the raids initially knocked out half of its output.

Wall Street Journal Assistant Editorial Features Editor, Jason Willick added that Saudi Arabia's apparent unwillingness to take on the Iranians may complicate the President's plan to reduce the US footprint in the Middle East.

Pompeo also said, "I hope the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way", according to Abu Dhabi's "The National".

Separately, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh accused the United States of using oil as a "weapon" and said economic conditions were harder under the current US sanctions than during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

The rhetoric has raised the risk of an unpredictable escalation in a tinderbox region where Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a decades-old struggle for dominance. The UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia and joined the kingdom in its war with the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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But as Iran's top diplomat, Zarif was sanctioned by the U.S. on July 31 - ahead of the UN General Assembly debate due to begin on Tuesday.

Most Trump critics applauded USA restraint, claiming that the U.S. had under no obligation to Riyadh, but blamed Trump's rhetorical bluster and his policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran for driving the region to the brink of conflict.

While Pompeo struck a hard line, Trump has been noncommittal on whether he would order USA military retaliation. He ordered more sanctions on Tehran.

It quoted Salem al-Zaabi of the Emirati Foreign Ministry as saying the UAE joined the coalition to "ensure global energy security and the continued flow of energy supplies to the global economy". Iran denies being behind the tanker explosions.

Patriot and Aegis air defense systems don't match their advertised properties - they are inefficient against small-size aerial targets and cruise missiles.

An global inquiry is under way, with the United Nations saying on Thursday experts had arrived in the kingdom and begun their mission "at the invitation of the Saudi authorities".

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Joshua Wong, one of the most prominent figures in a generally leaderless movement , told lawmakers that "the stakes have never been higher".

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