Iranian Foreign Minister: Tehran “never sought” to expand the scope of the war in the region News of the Israeli war on Gaza

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Lebanon to discuss the Israeli war on Gaza and its impact on regional security, that Iran has never sought war in the region.

“Iran and Lebanon confirm that war is not the solution, and that we have never sought to expand its scope,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib in Beirut on Saturday.

However, he threatened that any large-scale attack by Israel on Lebanon would be the “last day” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His visit to Beirut comes as the United States and Israel continue to blame Iran and allied armed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen for escalating tensions in the region through attacks on American and Israeli targets.

Amir Abdullahian told reporters: “After months of aggression by the Zionist regime in Gaza and the West Bank, Tel Aviv has not achieved any of its declared goals.”

He added, “Continued American support for the Zionist entity and Netanyahu will not have any results other than final defeat.”

During his visit, the Iranian diplomat met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Ziad Nakhalah, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad Movement, and some Hamas officials. He also met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

“An Arab problem requires an Arab solution”

After his meetings in Lebanon, Amir Abdullahian is scheduled to visit the Syrian capital, Damascus, where Iran also allegedly has influence over other groups. He is scheduled to then head to Qatar, which was the main mediator between Israel and Hamas.

Some political analysts considered that the Iranian Foreign Minister’s tour to Lebanon and other regional countries was a way to influence the outcome of the negotiations regarding the Gaza war.

Iran was not represented in Saudi Arabia at Thursday’s meeting, where ministers from Arab countries discussed initiatives for Gaza after the end of the war.

Interestingly, excluding Iran and including Qatar is something we must take into consideration because the Saudis were saying that this is an Arab problem that requires Arab solutions. Mehran Kamrava, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera that Iran, of course, wants to have a say in what happens once the war ends.

Amir Abdullahian said on Saturday that a political solution is the only way to end the conflict in Gaza and that Tehran is holding talks with Riyadh on this issue.

Iranian Foreign Minister in Lebanon
Interim Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Beirut, Lebanon (File: Mohammad Azakir/Reuters)

In a report from Beirut, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khader said that this is the third visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister to the region since the start of the war, and this time he stressed that the Palestinians themselves must decide their future.

Khader pointed out that his visit to Lebanon also coincided with the Israeli threat to expand its attacks on Hezbollah if it did not obtain security guarantees along the border.

After 17 years of relative calm along the Israeli-Lebanese border, Hezbollah and the Israeli army began launching attacks in the area on October 8, a day after Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,100 people there. Israel launched a relentless assault on Gaza. Which claimed the lives of more than 28 thousand Palestinians.

Hezbollah officials said they would stop attacking Israeli military sites when the Israeli offensive in Gaza ended.

Amir Abdullahian told reporters in Beirut on Friday that “Hezbollah and the resistance in Lebanon have courageously and wisely played their deterrent and effective role.”

He said that Tehran will continue its “strong support for the resistance in Lebanon, because we consider the security of Lebanon to be the security of Iran and the region.”

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