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Opinion

Control Israel to avert regional war, Iran urges US

The United States must rein in Israel to avert a regional spillover of the war with Hamas, Iran’s top diplomat said Friday in Beirut, adding Tehran was seeking to safeguard Lebanon’s security.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke as Hamas and Israel traded heavy fire for a seventh day, after hundreds of Hamas gunmen stormed across the border from Gaza into Israel on Saturday and killed 1,200 people.

Israel has retaliated by raining air and artillery strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, leaving more than 1,350 people dead.

“America wants to give Israel a chance to destroy Gaza, and this is… a grave mistake,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding, “if the Americans want to prevent the war in the region from developing, they must control Israel.”

Although Tehran has been a long-term backer of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Iranian officials have been adamant the Islamic republic had no involvement in the militant group’s weekend attack on Israel.

Looking to hold off a spillover of fighting into Lebanon following border tensions in recent days, Amir-Abdollahian arrived in Beirut on Thursday night, following a stop in Baghdad.

“Lebanon’s security and peace is important to us,” Amir-Abdollahian said after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“One of the goals of our trip is to stress on Lebanon’s security,” he added.

Also on Friday, Amir-Abdollahian met with Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah to discuss “potential outcomes” and the “positions that must be taken” in light of the latest developments, according to a Hezbollah statement.

Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon in recent days, although the tit-for-tat attacks have remained limited.

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