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B-Team wants to fight Iran to the last American: FM Zarif

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (file photo)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that US-allied Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates apparently want to "fight Iran to the last American."

In a post on his Twitter account on Friday, Zarif responded to earlier remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Abu Dhabi claiming that Iran is threatening all-out war and to fight to the last American.

In his tweet, the top Iranian diplomat dismissed his American counterpart's claims and said, "@SecPompeo has it the other way around: It's not #Iran that wishes to fight to the last American; rather, it is his #B_Team hosts who seem to wish to fight Iran to the last American."

He once again reiterated that Iran has no "desire for war" but emphasized that the Islamic Republic will defend and has always defended its people and nation.

Speaking to the media on Friday after meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and earlier Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Pompeo blamed Iran for an attack against two Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities over the weekend and said the United States was building a coalition to deter Iran.

"I was here in an act of diplomacy while the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all out war to fight to the last American. We're here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution to this. That's my mission set," the US secretary of state said.

On September 14, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters conducted strikes on two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, in Abqaiq and Khurais. The attacks led to a halt in about 50 percent of the Arab kingdom’s crude and gas production, causing a surge in oil prices.

The Houthi movement officially took credit for the attacks, but the US secretary of state swiftly blamed Iran. Furthermore, US President Donald Trump said a short while later that the US was “locked and loaded” for a response at the behest of the Arab kingdom, although he later said that he wanted no conflict with any country. 

Still later, the Pentagon reportedly prepared “response” options for the American president.

Tensions have significantly risen as a result of the accusations leveled against Iran, which Tehran has rejected, calling them an attempt by the White House to shift from a failed campaign of “maximum pressure” to one of “maximum lying” and “deceit” against the Islamic Republic.

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In an exclusive interview with the CNN in Tehran on Thursday, the Iranian foreign minister said a potential military strike against his country by the United States or Saudi Arabia will unleash an “all-out” war in the region.

"I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don't want to engage in a military confrontation," Zarif said, adding that a military response based on "deception" about the weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations would cause "a lot of casualties."

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 with Iran, and the letter “b” in their names. They include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Saudi crown prince, the Abu Dhabi crown prince, and former US National Security Adviser John Bolton. The term has gained wider usage to refer to such Iran hawks as Pompeo as well as hard-line US Senators like Lindsey Graham.

The word is also a tacit reference to the group’s level of competence, always lagging behind the proverbial “A-team.”

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