Iran threatens ‘obliterating war’ if Israel attacks Lebanon

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Iran has threatened that an Israeli invasion of Lebanon would trigger an “obliterating war.”

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The warning came after tensions between Israel and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah prompted the United States to launch diplomatic efforts to prevent a full-scale war in the region.

In a post on social media late Friday, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said that Tehran considers Israel’s warnings of military action in Lebanon as “psychological warfare,” but “should it embark on full-scale military aggression, an obliterating war will ensue.”

“All options, including the full involvement of all Resistance Fronts, are on the table,” the Iranian officials said, referring to the alliance of armed groups backed by Iran, including Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Yemen’s Houthis and Iraqi Shiite militias.

The threats from Iran come after former Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz declared on Tuesday: “We can plunge Lebanon completely into the dark and take apart Hezbollah’s power in days.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday warned that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are capable of bringing Lebanon “back to the Stone Age.” But “we don’t want to get into a war because it’s not good for Israel,” he added during a visit to Washington.

According to U.S. intelligence, a large-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah is likely to break out in the next several weeks if the Israeli government and Hamas fail to reach a cease-fire deal in Gaza.

According to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) and reported by Al Jazeera, there have been some 7,400 cross-border attacks between Israel and Lebanon since Oct. 7.

The escalating tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border prompted Germany, the Netherlands and Canada this week to urge their citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible via the commercial flights still operating in the country. The U.S., which has a slightly more conservative assessment, issued a travel advisory for U.S. citizens, urging them to “strongly reconsider” travel to Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last Sunday that the “intense phase of the war with Hamas is about to end,” but also that the IDF’s focus may shift to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

In late May, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant and three senior Hamas leaders. The U.K. government is now expected to intervene at the ICC to delay a decision on whether to issue a warrant for Netanyahu for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Iran’s new threats over a potential war between Israel and Hezbollah came as the Islamic Republic went to the polls for presidential elections. The first round ended with none of the candidates above the 50 percent of preferences needed to win.

Iran will go to a runoff next week between moderate reformist Masoud Pezeshkian and hardliner Saeed Jalili, who received 10.4 million and 9.4 million votes, respectively.

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