Iran seeking to avoid full-scale conflict with Israel – CNN
Iran and regional armed groups that have close ties with Tehran are walking a fine line between pushing back against Israel over its military campaign in Gaza and letting the crisis devolve into a full-scale conflict, CNN reported on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
According to US officials interviewed by the American network, Washington believes that Iran does not fully control some of its allied groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has been engaged in recurring border clashes with Israel for weeks. American officials “are deeply concerned” that Hezbollah’s internal politics may force the group to escalate the situation, the article says.
Still, according to the report, Iran is aware that if Hezbollah mounts a major attack on Israel or the US – which is West Jerusalem’s key ally – the pushback could lead to “devastating” consequences. One US official told CNN about the group’s low-level attacks on Israel that the US has allowed Iran to be seen as “doing something” about hostilities in Gaza while avoiding a direct conflict.
CNN sources have described those actions as a “coordinated strategy” while warning that this approach could backfire and cause the situation to spiral out of control even if neither party wants such an outcome.
Amid fears of a broader regional confrontation, the outlet Ynet reported on Friday that Israel is actively procuring weaponry, having already spent some $1.5 billion to buy arms produced both domestically and abroad.
The CNN and Ynet reports come after the Houthi government in Yemen, which has close ties to Iran, confirmed that it had attacked Israel with drones and missiles to support Palestine. Meanwhile, Hezbollah said on Thursday that it had launched several strikes on the Israeli military, which responded in kind. The new barrage came ahead of an anticipated public speech by the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, the first since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.
On Thursday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Washington had seen no signs that Hezbollah was preparing a major offensive against Israel. In recent weeks, the US has also repeatedly warned Iran against escalating the conflict.
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, has maintained that Tehran “is not pursuing the spreading of this war” while warning that “the region is at a boiling point and any moment it may explode.” He also did not rule out the possibility of regional militant groups attacking Israel, stressing that these militias are acting independently.
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