Iran urges US to 'control' Israel to avert regional war

AFP , Friday 13 Oct 2023

The United States must rein in Israel to avert a regional spillover of the war with Hamas, Iran's top diplomat said Friday in Beirut, adding Tehran was seeking to safeguard Lebanon's security.

Iran FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. AP


"If the Americans want to prevent the war in the region from developing, they must control Israel," Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, adding, "one of the goals of our trip is to stress on Lebanon's security".

Iran's foreign minister, whose government supports Hamas and other Middle East militant groups, said on Thursday opening a "new front" against Israel would depend on Israel's actions in Gaza.

Although Tehran has been a long-term backer of Hamas, Iranian officials have been adamant that the country had no involvement in the militants' attack against its arch enemy Israel on Saturday.

Nevertheless, the United States fears the opening of a second front on Israel's northern border with Lebanon if Hezbollah, another heavily armed militant group backed by Iran, were to intervene.

Speaking from Beirut's airport, the top diplomat said that Iran's regional allies, known as the "axis of resistance", could respond if Israel's Gaza offensive escalates.

"The continuation of war crimes against Palestinians and Gaza will receive a response from the rest of the axes," he told reporters.

Israel’s campaign on Gaza has leveled entire neighborhoods, killing over 1,400 people,  according to the Gaza Health Ministry. More than 340,000 have been displaced — 15 percent of Gaza's population.

So far, health officials have reported some 1,417 Palestinians killed by Israel's round-the-clock bombardment of Gaza, more than 60 percent of them women and children. Israel's grisly retaliation comes after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented attack on Saturday that killed at least 1,200 Israelis.

The West has been cautious about Iran since Saturday, but its leaders have warned Tehran in no uncertain terms against intervening in the war.

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had "made it clear to the Iranians: Be careful".

In a call with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday appealed to "all the Islamic and Arab countries" to "reach serious convergence and cooperation on the path of stopping the crimes of the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian nation".

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