Iranian Statements on Saudi Oil Attack

Iranian officials denied U.S. allegations that Tehran was behind the September 14 strikes on Saudi oil facilities. The United States swiftly blamed Iran for the attacks despite a Houthi statement claiming responsibility. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iran responded defiantly to the allegations and accused Washington of fabricating the claims. Tehran suggested that the attacks were carried out by Yemenis as an act of self-defense against the Saudi-led coalition air campaign. "The U.S. is in denial if it thinks that Yemeni victims of 4.5 yrs of the worst war crimes wouldn't do all to strike back,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. He said blaming Iran would not end the regional conflict.  

In remarks to seminary students, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seemed to rule out a potential meeting between President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later in September. “The policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian nation is of little importance, and all the officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe that there will be no negotiations at any level with the United States,” said Khamenei. But he added that Tehran and Washington could engage in multilateral negotiations if the United States returned to the 2015 nuclear deal. The following are remarks by Iranian officials on the Saudi attacks.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns and rejects the irresponsible claim of the British, French and German heads of state about the attack of the Yemeni government’s armed forces against Saudi facilities. Iran stresses that pinning the blame on a third government for an attack carried out in the course of a full-scale war between the Saudi and Yemeni sides is per se a provocative and extremely destructive move at a time when the Yemenis have officially claimed responsibility for the attack, let alone that the accusation is levelled before any investigation, without any evidence, and merely based on the ridiculous argument that “there is no other possible explanation.” 

Such statements and destructive actions will only add fuel to the devastating fire of the Yemeni war and make it more likely to expand. Levelling prearranged accusations against governments for political purposes, far from the realities on the ground, along with other supportive policies towards Saudi Arabia’s child-killing regime, especially the massive arms exports to the country, is a dangerous trend, and the responsibility for its impacts on regional peace and stability will lie with the three countries that issued the statement. 

In addition, the points mentioned in the statement about the JCPOA and the necessity for renegotiation over Iran’s nuclear program, which have been articulated more explicitly and dangerously in the remarks made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are a stark violation of the letter and spirit of the JCPOA and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231. 

The nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, as mentioned in its title, is a “comprehensive” deal that has been negotiated and finalized as a final solution to the fabricated crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. The clear and precise timings provided in the JCPOA are another proof of this. The parties to the deal, which has also been endorsed by the Security Council, have reiterated in this document that at the end of the period envisaged in the JCPOA, Iran’s nuclear program will be treated like that of any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the Islamic Republic of Iran will accept nothing beyond that. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates that its missile and defense program is based on its indigenous capability and its policy of deterrence, and proportionate with existing threats. Therefore, the measures taken for its development are fully responsible and in accordance with international law and regulations. The issue of Iran’s missile tests has been settled in the JCPOA and the Security Council Resolution 2231, and this has been repeatedly endorsed by the officials of the negotiating parties, including in a recent statement by the US President who – albeit in disapproval of the JCPOA – explicitly acknowledged that Iran’s ballistic missile tests were “permissible”. Iran strongly rejects any attempt to enter into negotiation over these issues. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly emphasized the need for the regional countries to engage in dialogue and interactions aimed at creating mechanisms to promote peace and security in the region and put an end to the Yemen crisis. Iran expresses its deep concern over the humanitarian catastrophes that this war has caused for the Yemeni people and once again declares its readiness to do so.” 

—September 24, 2019, in an official statement  


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

“The policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian nation is of little importance, and all the officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe that there will be no negotiations at any level with the United States.”

“Of course, I do not mean that we should cut relations with other governments around the world; we favor relations and talks, yet, the affairs of the country should not be dependent on our foreign relations. Benefit from the facilities of the world, as much as you can, but the cure is inside the country, and the problems can only be solved by the people.”

“They [Iran’s enemies] have done and continue to do everything they can to oppose us, but by God’s grace and power, their actions have had and will have no results; and the Iranian nation will overcome the enemies, especially the United States.”

“Sometimes, they [Americans] say negotiations without prerequisites, other times, they say negotiations with 12 conditions. Such remarks are either due to their turbulent politics or a trick to confuse the other party. Of course, the Islamic Republic won’t be confused, because our path is clear, and we know what we are doing.”

“I’ve been repeating that the U.S. seeks is to impose, but they have become so insolent today that they are confessing to it themselves.”

“The U.S. pursues a policy of maximum pressure on Iran through various embargoes, intimidation, and distorted claims, because the current U.S. government believes that the Islamic Republic cannot be brought to its knees, humiliated, and made to submit, through any indirect approach.”

“Their goal of pursuing negotiation is to prove to everyone that maximum pressure has been effective, and the Islamic Republic officials were forced to sit at the negotiating table despite claiming that they would not negotiate. Thus, the only way of dealing with Iran is through maximum pressure.”

“If the enemy succeeds in proving that maximum pressure is the only effective way of dealing with Iran, then Iran and our dear nation will never be left in peace. Because, this policy will become the default basis of every other oppressive policy of the U.S., and after that every time they make a new outrageous demand to the Islamic Republic, we would either have to accept and be done with it or say no and be subjected to maximum pressure anew.”

“I will, of course, speak about the Europeans at another time, but they are insisting that a meeting with the U.S. President would solve all our problems, because they want to prove that the maximum pressure policy has been effective in dealing with Iran, and this policy must be pursued.”

“In return, we must prove that the maximum pressure policy has absolutely no value in the eyes of the Iranian nation.”

“It is for this reason that the country's officials, from the President to the Foreign minister and others, have unanimously announced that we would not take part in talks, be it bilateral or multilateral, with the United States.”

—Sept. 17, 2019, in remarks to seminary students


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“The fact of the matter is that the Houthis have accepted responsibility- responsibility for that. If it were a false flag operation, if somebody else did it, then they should look for that culprit. It wasn't Iran. And if the United States believes it wasn't the Yemenis then they should look for who did it.” 

“These attacks did not take place from Iran for the supreme leader to approve them. Had they taken place from Iran then he would have had to approve them. But it didn't take place from Iran.” 

—September 22, 2019, in an interview with CBS Face the Nation 


“I know that Iran didn't have anything to do with it. Who did it? I just take the Yemeni claim at face value. If you want to go to conspiracy theory and ask who had an interest in doing that, there'd be a lot of people in the list of interested participants — not least of which the United States and Israel.” 

—September 22, 2019, in an interview on NPR 


“I think it is important for the Saudi government to understand what they’re trying to achieve. Do they want to fight Iran until the last American soldier? Is that their aim? They can be assured that this won’t be the case ... because Iran will defend itself.” 

“I’m making a very serious statement that we don’t want war. We don’t want to engage in a military confrontation. We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful. There will be a lot of casualties. But we won't blink to defend our territory." 

"They're making that (Iran’s involvement in attacks) up. Now they want to pin the blame on Iran, in order to achieve something. And that is why I'm saying this is agitation for war because it's based on lies, it's based on deception." 

"I cannot have any confidence that they (Houthis) did it because we just heard their statement. I know that we didn't do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it." 

—September 19, 2019, in an interview with CNN 




President Hassan Rouhani

“Americans are sanctioning institutions that have already been blacklisted. This signals America’s complete desperation and shows that it’s “maximum pressure” has failed ... as the great Iranian nation has resisted successfully.” 

—September 23, 2019, in ainterview on state television

"While exerting psychological and economic pressure on the Iranian people (through sanctions), they want to impose maximum ... pressure on Iran through slander. Meanwhile, no one believes these accusations." 

—September 18, 2019, in a statement according to state broadcaster IRIB 

The United States is running a "war operation" by "supporting the UAE and Saudi Arabia, transferring weapons, and providing intelligence."

—September 15, 2019, in an interview with Press TV


Commander of IRGC Aerospace Force General Amir Ali Hajizadeh

“We have been constantly preparing ourselves for a full-fledged war.”

“All American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles.”

—September 15, 2019, in a statement to Tasnim news agency


Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei

"Currently we don't see any sign from the Americans which has honesty in it, and if the current state continues there will be absolutely no chance of a meeting between the two presidents."

—September 16, 2019, in an official statement, according to ABC News


Some of the information in this article was originally published on September 17, 2019.