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Iran Warns: Actions of U.S. and Israel Could Make Wider Conflict Inevitable

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who has been hyperactive diplomatically since Oct. 7, warned in an interview with Financial Times, that while Iran does not want to expand the war, U.S. backing of Israel in Gaza could make a wider conflict inevitable. “Over the past 40 days, messages have been exchanged between Iran and the U.S., via the U.S. interests section at the Swiss embassy in Tehran,” he said. “In response to the U.S., we said that Iran does not want the war to spread, but due to the approach adopted by the U.S. and Israel in the region, if the crimes against the people of Gaza and the West Bank are not stopped, any possibility could be considered, and a wider conflict could prove inevitable.”

Amir-Abdollahian maintained that Hezbollah and other Islamist militants in Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Yemen were not Iran’s proxy forces, saying each had an independent political identity. But he warned that these groups “are not indifferent towards the killing of their Muslim and Arab peers in Palestine.” Amir-Abdollahian said the U.S. had not threatened that Iran could be hit if Hezbollah launched an all-out assault on Israel. However, he accused Washington of inviting Tehran “to exercise restraint” while it was itself escalating the war in Gaza with massive support for Israel.

He said the U.S. messages to Hezbollah similarly urging restraint “would fail to make the resistance group cautious in its decision-making.”

“Our military officials are of the opinion that the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers near our region, which makes them accessible, is not a strong point for the U.S.. Rather, it makes them more vulnerable to possible strikes,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “The war has already expanded in the region. The fact that the Yemeni army [Iran-backed Houthi movement] … attacks the occupied lands with missiles and drones means the war has begun to expand. The fact that Hezbollah is fighting with a third of the Israeli army shows the war has expanded,” he said.