Iran’s foreign minister says Iran, US have exchanged messages in recent weeks


BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran and the United States have exchanged messages amid Israel’s four-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza, which also involves the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday.

“During this war and in recent weeks, there was an exchange of messages between Iran and the US,” Hossein Amirabdollahian said through a translator at a news conference concluding a one-day visit to Beirut.

He said the United States had asked Tehran to urge Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, “not to engage comprehensively, completely, in this war against Israel”.

Hezbollah has engaged in almost daily shootouts with Israeli forces along the Lebanese-Israeli border to support its Palestinian ally Hamas, and has vowed to “fight to the end” if Israel launches a full-scale war on Lebanon.

war in israel and gaza

TOPSHOT - A Palestinian woman cries while inspecting a heavily damaged apartment following an Israeli bombardment of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 8, 2024, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its fifth month.  (Photo by Saeed Khatib/AFP) (Photo by Saeed Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel launched a war aimed at destroying Hamas after a deadly cross-border attack by the Islamic group on southern Israel on October 7.

The conflict has spread across the region and earlier this month Washington launched strikes against Iran-aligned groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in response to a deadly attack on US troops in Jordan.

Amirabdollahian on Saturday warned Israel against taking any steps toward a broader war against Lebanon, saying it would be the “last days” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He also said that Iran considers a political solution to be the only way to end the Gaza war.

“Iran and Lebanon confirm that war is not a solution, and we have never sought to expand it,” Amirabdollahian said at a news conference Saturday alongside his Lebanese counterpart Abdullah Bou Habib.

He also said Tehran was in talks with Saudi Arabia on a political solution to hostilities in Gaza.

This week Hamas proposed a 4-1/2 month ceasefire, during which the remaining hostages held by Hamas would be freed, Israel would withdraw its troops from Gaza and an agreement would be reached on an end to the war.

Netanyahu described Hamas’s terms as “illusory” and vowed to fight. But Amirabdullahian said Hamas was presenting ideas based on a “realistic approach” and that they should be widely supported to end the war.

Amirabdullahian met on Saturday with Lebanon’s acting prime minister, foreign minister, speaker of parliament and Hezbollah chief Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar television outlet said the foreign minister and Nasrallah reviewed the latest developments in Gaza and southern Lebanon, including “the near-term situation in Lebanon.”

According to Syrian media, Amirabdollahian is set to travel to Syria and meet top officials there.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has faced one of its deadliest attacks in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.

Since December, more than half a dozen of their members have been killed in Israeli strikes, including one of the Guards’ top intelligence generals.

(Reporting by Maya Gebelli; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Francis Carey)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters,


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