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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Iran warns US of ‘new fronts’ in Middle East

Washington’s reluctance to change course could lead to a region-wide escalation, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said

The US could face dire consequences in the Middle East if it continues to support Israel, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has warned. His comments came amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas, and following American strikes on military sites in the region allegedly used by Tehran’s forces.

Washington “is advising others to show self-restraint, but it has sided with Israel totally,” the minister said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Friday.

Read more: US fighter jets strike Syria after attacks by Iran-backed militia

Amir-Abdollahian also cautioned that the continued bloodshed in Gaza “will make the situation get out of control in the region.”

“The American side should decide – does it really want to escalate, intensify the war?” he asked.

The foreign minister went on to deny that Iran had instructed militant groups in Iraq and Syria to attack the US, insisting that they were acting on their own. “They’re not receiving any orders from us, any instructions,” he said.

Read more: US will ‘not be spared’ if Israel-Hamas war escalates – Iran

On Thursday, the Pentagon said that it had launched airstrikes on two facilities in eastern Syria allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite branch of Tehran’s military, and affiliated groups. Later, US President Joe Biden stated that the raid was a response to recurring attacks on US forces in the region.

Commenting on the Hamas-Israel conflict, Amir-Abdollahian warned that West Jerusalem would face consequences if it were to launch a ground invasion into Gaza.

“Opening of new fronts will be unavoidable and that will put Israel in a new situation that will make it regret its actions,” he said, adding that “anything is possible and any front can be opened up.”

On Friday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it is “expanding ground operations” in the Palestinian enclave, which is already reeling from relentless air and missile attacks. The statement came amid reports by several media outlets that the US is concerned that a full-fledged Israeli ground attack on Gaza could draw Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Islamist military group with close ties to Iran, into the conflict.