US visas for Iran leaders amid war talk

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the UAE after aggressive comments between the US and Iran.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the UAE after aggressive comments between the US and Iran.

Amid the outbreak of aggressive language between the US and Iran, there's also been a signal of both sides wanting to avoid a confrontation.

A spokesman at Iran's mission to the United Nations said on Thursday that foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani had received US visas to attend next week's annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

This comes as Iran diplomat warned of an "all-out war," if it came under attack from the US or Saudi Arabia following a drone strike on the Saudi oil industry that shook global energy markets.

Iran has denied any responsibility for that strike, but has been blamed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called it an "act of war."

Meanwhile, in an interview on CNN, Zarif said Iran would not blink to defend its territory.

Asked what would be the consequence of a US or Saudi strike, Zarif bluntly said: "An all-out war."

"I'm making a very serious statement that we don't want war. We don't want to engage in a military confrontation," he said. "We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful."

Pompeo, who was in the United Arab Emirates, dismissed Zarif's remarks, saying: "I was here (doing) active diplomacy while the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all-out war to fight to the last American."

Pompeo said he hoped Iran would choose a path toward peace, but he remained doubtful. He described "an enormous consensus in the region" that Iran carried out the attack.

"There are still those today who think, 'Boy, if we just give Iran just a little bit more money they'll become a peaceful nation,"' he said. "We can see that that does not work."

Australian Associated Press