Iran foreign minister says Tehran, Washington have exchanged messages in recent weeks

Iran foreign minister says Tehran, Washington have exchanged messages in recent weeks
The comments from Hossein Amir-Abdollahian come as clashes between Hezbollah and Israel, which have been ongoing since October, continue.
3 min read
10 February, 2024
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will head to Syria following his visit to Lebanon's capital Beirut [Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran and the United States have exchanged messages throughout Israel's four-month-old war on Gaza, including about Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday.

"During this war and in the recent weeks, there was an exchange of messages between Iran and America," Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said through a translator at a press conference capping a day-long visit to Beirut.

He said the United States had asked Tehran to request Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, "not to get widely, fully involved in this war against" Israel.

Hezbollah has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli military along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier to support its Palestinian ally Hamas, and has vowed to "fight to the end" should Israel launch a full-scare war on Lebanon.

Israel launched a war it says aims to destroy Hamas after the Islamist group staged a surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed 28,064 Palestinians since 7 October, with a further 67,611 wounded, according to Gaza's health authorities. 

The conflict has rippled across the region and earlier this month Washington staged strikes against Iran-aligned groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in retaliation for a deadly attack on US troops in Jordan.

Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday warned Israel against taking any steps towards a broader war against Lebanon, saying that would be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "last day."

He also said Iran saw a political solution as the only way to end the Gaza war.

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"Iran and Lebanon confirm that war is not the solution, and that we absolutely never sought to expand it," Amir-Abdollahian told a news conference earlier on Saturday alongside his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib.

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

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

Netanyahu called the Hamas terms "delusional" and vowed to fight on. But Amir-Abdollahian said Hamas was presenting ideas based on a "realistic view," and that they should be widely backed in order to end the war.

Amir-Abdollahian met on Saturday with Lebanon's caretaker prime minister, foreign minister, speaker of parliament and Hezbollah head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

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Hezbollah's Al-Manar television outlet said the foreign minister and Nasrallah reviewed the latest developments in Gaza and southern Lebanon, including "the near future of the situation in Lebanon".

Amir-Abdollahian is set to travel on to Syria, according to Syrian media, and will meet top officials there.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps have suffered one of their most bruising spells in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.

Since December, Israeli strikes have killed more than half a dozen of their members, among them one of the Guards' top intelligence generals.