Israeli war crimes have turned whole region into ‘powder keg’: Iran’s foreign minister

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Iran’s foreign minister says continuous Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip have turned the entire region into a “powder keg,” warning that “anything will be possible” if such atrocities continue.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in an interview with the American public radio NPR that was published on Friday. The minister is in New York City to attend an emergency UN General Assembly meeting on Palestine.

The warning comes as the Israeli regime continues bombarding the densely populated Gaza Strip, adding to the miseries of the poor community hit by 17 years of Israeli blockade.

The fatalities in Gaza since October 7, when Israel launched its aerial campaign, has crossed 7,000. The regime has also imposed a total blockade on the region, depriving millions of people there of food, fuel, water and electricity.

The raids started after an unprecedented military offensive, dubbed Al-Aqsa Storm Operation was launched by Hamas-led resistance forces against occupied territories. Palestinians said the attack, in which some 1,400 Israeli forces and settlers were killed, was a response to increased Israeli violence against Palestinians and the desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque by occupiers. 

Amir-Abdollahian said the region can’t afford to stay silent as Israel keeps massacring women and children in the strip.  

“But you know the situation remains complicated. It’s difficult for our region to tolerate the fact that 7,000 civilians have been killed as the result of the bombardments of the Israeli regime. This is the image that we’re now seeing in the region and because of the continuation of crimes of the Israeli regime, the whole region has been turned into a powder keg.”

The minister said his discussions with Palestinian and Lebanese resistance leaders in recent weeks show they “have their finger on the trigger” and are ready to make their own decisions to act against the Israeli regime and its allies.

“What I gathered from the plans that they have – they have their finger on the trigger. You know, much more powerful and deeper than what you’ve witnessed. Therefore, I believe that if this situation continues and women and children and civilians are still killed in Gaza and the West Bank, anything will be possible.”

US urged to stop enabling war crimes

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is continuing its efforts to stop the conflict as soon as possible.

“We don’t really want this conflict to spread out. Actually, we’re advising everybody and encouraging them to move toward the stopping of war crimes as soon as possible.”

He urged the US, who he said is practically running the Israeli war machine, to stop providing unlimited support to the regime and to stop its atrocities.

“We do encourage the US to abandon its absolute total support of the Israeli regime. According to information we have inside the region, both the security and political systems of Israel have totally collapsed,” he said. “Right now, the only thing functional in Israel is their war machine that is also being run and controlled and managed by the US.”

He said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is motivated to keep the war going, as the end of the war means the end of his own cabinet.

“… if the attacks and the war stop, then he will fall in less than two days.”

‘Hamas has own homegrown capabilities’

Elaborating on Iran’s relationship with Hamas, the Iranian minister said Iran offers political support to Hamas as a resistance movement legally fighting occupation, but the movement acts independently and has its own homegrown military capabilities.

“We do have our political support for the liberation movement so that the occupied territories will be freed. Therefore, our support is only political.”

“They have enough missiles, rockets and drones and can easily get them from anywhere,” he said. “They have whatever it takes to produce their own weapons and they have their own training and that is why they decided themselves to go ahead with this operation.”

‘Hamas ready to release non-military prisoners’

Amir-Abdollahian said his recent discussions with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar shows the group is ready to release non-military captives as they have “no motivation, no reason” to keep them.

However, Amir-Abdollahian said first there needs to be a ceasefire before Hamas can release the non-military captives.

“You know, [Israel is] killing large numbers of civilians and at the same time you expect them to release these people, giving them a free hand in killing them and at the same time tying your own hands? This is not logical …”.

The Iranian minister said that thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to releasing non-military prisoners.

“When the time comes for the release of the non-military prisoners then they should not forget that there are 6,000 Palestinian prisoners who are held captive by the Israelis.”

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