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Iran warns of ‘far-reaching’ costs if Israel not stopped

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Iran warned in a social media post on Saturday that if Israel’s “war crimes and genocide” are not stopped then the situation could spiral out of control with “far-reaching consequences.”
The post on X by Iran’s mission to the United Nations came after Axios reported Tehran warned Israel – in a message sent via the UN – that it would have to respond if Israel carries out a ground offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
“If the Israeli apartheid’s war crimes & genocide are not halted immediately, the situation could spiral out of control & ricochet far-reaching consequences – the responsibility of which lies with the UN, the Security Council & the states steering the Council toward a dead end,” Iran’s UN mission posted.
Israel was preparing on Saturday to launch a ground assault against Iran-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip, after telling Palestinians living in the densely populated territory to flee south towards a closed border with Egypt.
Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas in retaliation for an attack by the Palestinian group a week ago. Hamas stormed Israeli towns, killing 1,300 people and seizing scores of hostages – the worst attack on civilians in Israel’s history.
Israeli jets and artillery have already subjected Gaza to the most intense bombardment it has ever seen, putting the enclave, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, under total siege. Gaza authorities say more than 2,200 people have been killed.
The United States has been working to keep Iran out of the conflict and broader international diplomacy has been focused on preventing it from spilling over – particularly into Lebanon – and sparking a regional war.
Lebanon’s Iran-backed, heavily armed Hezbollah group has clashed with Israel across the Lebanese border multiple times in the past week in the deadliest confrontations since they fought a month-long war in 2006.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Beirut on Saturday, the United Nations said. Abdollahian then met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar, Al Jazeera TV reported.
When asked about the Axios report, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “All of (Wennesland’s) meetings have been to discuss diplomatic efforts to release hostages, secure humanitarian access and prevent a spillover of the conflict to the wider region. This includes his recent meetings in Lebanon.”
Israel’s mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the Axios report or the social media post by Iran.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said he held a “very productive” meeting with the Saudi crown prince in Riyadh, a critical diplomatic engagement as Israel prepared to launch a ground assault in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Washington worked to contain the conflict.
“Very productive,” Blinken replied to a question from a Reuters reporter as he returned to the hotel where the US delegation was staying.
In the meeting, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed the need to find ways to stop the conflict, and respect international law, including by lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
“(The crown prince stressed the need to find) a peace path to ensure that the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights and achieve just and lasting peace,” SPA said.
The top US diplomat’s meeting on Sunday with the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler comes as the region is on the brink of a further escalation with Gaza, a small coastal enclave home to 2.3 million Palestinians, bracing for Israel’s ground offensive.
Blinken has embarked on his most extensive trip to date to the Middle East, working with Arab allies to prevent the war from spiralling into a wider conflict and help secure the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas fighters.
Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas in retaliation for a rampage by its fighters in Israeli towns eight days ago in which they shot men, women and children and seized hostages in the worst attack on civilians in the country’s history.
Late on Saturday, Iran warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s bombardment was not stopped.
A US official said the meeting lasted for just under an hour and took place at the Crown Prince’s private farm residence.
“The Secretary highlighted the United States’ unwavering focus on halting terrorist attacks by Hamas, securing the release of all hostages, and preventing the conflict from spreading,” the State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
“The two affirmed their shared commitment to protecting civilians and to advancing stability across the Middle East and beyond,” Miller added.
Blinken started his tour on Thursday in Israel, voicing robust US support for Washington’s closest Middle East ally in its war against Hamas. He is expected to travel to Egypt later on Sunday.
Gaza authorities said more than 2,300 people had been killed, a quarter of them children, and nearly 10,000 wounded. Rescue workers searched desperately for survivors of nighttime air raids. One million people had reportedly left their homes.
Blinken on Saturday met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan in Riyadh. Before their meeting, Blinken said protecting civilians on both sides of the conflict was vital.
“And we’re working together to do exactly that, in particular working on establishing safe areas in Gaza, working on establishing corridors so that humanitarian assistance can reach people who need it.”