ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Iranian FM says messages exchanged with US on not wanting Israel-Hamas war to escalate

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, Iran, July 31, 2023. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, Iran, July 31, 2023. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran have exchanged multiple messages since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war saying that neither side is interested in escalating the conflict, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian tells The New York Times in an interview.

“We understand the US does not want the war to spread, but we think the US wants the war to intensify,” the top Iranian diplomat says. “If the US continues its military, political and financial support of Israel and helps manage Israel’s military attacks on Palestinian civilians, then it must face its consequences.”

US officials say they have yet to come across intelligence indicating that Iran was directly involved in the October 7 massacres led by Hamas. However, other Iran-backed proxies have launched dozens of missiles at US forces in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks, leading to several American counterstrikes.

The strikes by Iran-backed groups have subsided since the truce between Israel and Hamas went into effect last Friday — as have the numerous projectiles fired at Israel by Iran’s chief benefactor, Hezbollah. The Lebanese terror group has refrained from fully entering the war, in another possible indicator that Iran isn’t looking for the war to escalate further.

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