Iran's UN mission threatens 'far-reaching consequences'

Iran’s FM warns Israel to stop Gaza attacks or risk ‘huge earthquake’

Hossein Amirabdollahian meets Hamas leader Haniyeh in Qatar; report claims Tehran has conveyed to Israel it will intervene if strikes on Hamas continue

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut, Lebanon, October 13, 2023. (Hussein Malla/AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut, Lebanon, October 13, 2023. (Hussein Malla/AP)

BEIRUT — Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, warning that the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer “a huge earthquake.”

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut that Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group has taken all war scenarios into consideration and Israel should stop its attacks on Gaza as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Axios news site reported that Tehran has sent Jerusalem a message through the UN that it will intervene if the campaign in Gaza continues, and particularly if it launches a ground offensive. The report cited two diplomatic sources with knowledge of the matter.

The report said Amirabdollahian made the comments when he met Saturday with UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland in Beirut, a meeting that led to intense criticism from Israel.

Later on Saturday, Amirabdollahian met in Qatar with Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh.

A short while later, Iran’s mission to the UN warned in a tweet that if Israel’s “war crimes & genocide” are not stopped immediately, this could have “far-reaching consequences” and the situation could “spiral out of control.”

Israel considers Hezbollah its most serious immediate threat, estimating it has some 150,000 rockets and missiles, including precision-guided missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel. The group, which has thousands of battle-hardened fighters who participated in Syria’s 12-year conflict, also has various types of military drones.

Hezbollah fighters have been on full alert along Lebanon’s borders with Israel following last Saturday’s vicious assault by the Palestinian terror group Hamas that left some 1,300 Israeli civilians and soldiers dead, and saw up to 200 abducted to Gaza.

On Saturday, the Israeli military said an Israeli drone strike along the border with Lebanon eliminated a terror cell that was trying to infiltrate into Israel. On Friday, Hezbollah said its fighters fired several rockets at four Israel positions along the border.

On Saturday afternoon, Hezbollah fired a barrage of rockets and shells at Israeli positions in the disputed Mount Dov area, which Lebanon calls Sheba Farms. Israeli troops fired back on nearby areas in southern Lebanon.

Lebanon’s state news agency reported that a man and his wife were killed in Israeli shelling of a border village, while Hezbollah said one of its fighters was also killed Saturday.

Amirabdollahian discussed in Beirut on Saturday the situation in Gaza and the region with the top Hamas official in exile, Saleh Arouri, and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Ziad Nakhaleh, according to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV.

Hamas officials have said that last Saturday’s attack on southern Israel was not directed by Iran, though the sides closely cooperate and Tehran provides funds and military know-how to Hamas. Hamas officials did not respond to calls by The Associated Press to confirm and give details about the meeting.

Amirabdollahian left Beirut on Saturday afternoon following a tour that took him to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where Tehran enjoys wide influence.

Amirabdollahian said he met Friday with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who briefed him on the group’s conditions in Lebanon.

“I know about the scenarios that Hezbollah has put in place,” Amirabdollahian said. “Any step the resistance (Hezbollah) will take will cause a huge earthquake in the Zionist entity.”

Amirabdollahian added: “I want to warn the war criminals and those who support this entity before it’s too late to stop the crimes against civilians in Gaza, because it might be too late in a few hours.”

With an eye toward Hezbollah, US President Joe Biden has warned other players in the Middle East not to join the conflict and has sent American warships to the region and vowed full support for Israel.

The Iranian foreign minister said he will be contacting UN officials in the Middle East because “there is still an opportunity to work on an initiative [to end the war] but it might be too late tomorrow.”

The possibility of a new front in Lebanon brings back bitter memories of a monthlong war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006 that ended in a stalemate and a tense detente between the two sides.

Most Popular
read more: