Iran and Lebanon want to avoid ‘big war’ – Lavrov to RT
RT, November 15, 2023 —
Hezbollah is also not eager to ramp up its hostilities with Israel, the Russian foreign minister has said.
Moscow does not believe that Iran, Lebanon, or militant group Hezbollah want the Israel-Palestine war to escalate into a broader regional conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told RT.
Concerns continue to be raised that the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas could spark a wider war in the Middle East.
Israeli officials have threatened to bomb Lebanese capital Beirut in a similar way to their campaign in Gaza, while some US hawks have called for an attack on Iran.
Moscow, however, believes there is “no appetite” for a major conflict in Lebanon or Iran, Lavrov stated, adding that neither country wants “any involvement in this crisis.”
While there have been border clashes between Israeli troops and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, an organization “devoted to defending the Palestinian cause,” Lavrov claimed that recent televised remarks by the militant group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, suggest that it has “no appetite for a big war.”
That may change if Hezbollah is provoked into action by an attempt to force Palestinians out of Gaza, the Russian diplomat warned.
The same assessment is true for Iran, Lavrov argued, regardless of an escalation of attacks by militia forces on American bases in the region, which Washington has blamed on Tehran.
“Yes, Americans say that some ‘pro-Iranian’ armed groups in Syria and Iraq are trying to attack American military sites,” the Russian minister said, describing such incidents as “nothing new.”
Lavrov suggested that the US military presence in Syria was clearly illegal and was also questionable in Iraq, considering that the latter country’s parliament ordered the government to oust American forces in 2020.
Regional militias may be “agitated” by the mistreatment of Palestinians and proceed to “bite the Americans and the Israelis here and there,” but that does not indicate an intention by senior leadership to escalate the situation, Lavrov said.
However, he warned against perceiving this restraint as “weakness and a greenlight” for Israel to have a free hand in Gaza.
Israel has besieged Gaza since Hamas launched a surprise deadly incursion last month, killing hundreds of civilians and capturing scores of hostages. The Israeli response, which it claims is necessary to “obliterate” the Palestinian militant group, has resulted in over 11,000 deaths in Gaza, according to local officials.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated on Saturday that Hezbollah could drag Lebanon into the conflict, claiming that “what we are doing in Gaza, we know how to do in Beirut.”
Several US Republican presidential hopefuls have issued calls to attack Iran. Former ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said during a debate last week that the US should “go and take out [Iranian] infrastructure that they are using to make those strikes with, so they can never do it again,” referring to the attacks on US bases in the Middle East.
Senator Tim Scott urged Washington to “cut off the head of the snake and the head of the snake is Iran and not simply their proxies.”