Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reportedly told U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland that an Israeli military operation to target Hamas leaders and eliminate the threat the group poses to Israelis would force Iran to “respond,” presumably meaning Iranian military action directly against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Multiple Iranian government-affiliated propaganda outlets confirmed that Amir-Abdollahian met with Wennesland during the former’s visit to Lebanon but omitted any threats of a military attack on Israel.
The IDF issued a notice on Friday urging civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours in anticipation of a military operation against Hamas. That operation is a response to an unprecedented, gruesome attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, in which jihadists deliberately targeted Israeli civilians and foreign nationals in residential communities and other community areas.
The terrorists targeted families door-to-door in some affected communities and slaughtered hundreds at a music festival that day. Israeli authorities confirmed after reaching those areas that Hamas terrorists raped, tortured, and killed members of the most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and infants. Hamas terrorists uploaded videos of their assault, celebrating the killings by desecrating dead bodies and flaunting their hostages.
The death toll of the Hamas terrorist attack is estimated to be over 1,300 people, and more than 3,000 were wounded. Scores of Israelis remain missing, and authorities estimate that as many as 150 may remain hostages in Hamas custody in Gaza.
The Palestinian terror attack happened on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle.
Iran has, for decades, supported Hamas, both politically and financially. In 2020, the State Department estimated that Iran offered Hamas and a similar terrorist organization, “Islamic Jihad,” more than $100 million a year to engage in terrorist activities. Following the attack, a Hamas spokesman told the BBC that Iran offered “direct backing” for the mass murder.
In Tehran, the Iranian regime organized a massive street celebration on the night of October 7 in response to the killings, setting off fireworks and convening crowds chanting, “Death to Israel.”
Amir-Abdollahian is currently traveling to galvanize support for Hamas from Iran’s closest allies, meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. He met with Wennesland, the senior United Nations envoy, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday.
According to Axios, which cited “two diplomatic sources with knowledge of the situation,” the Iranian foreign minister told Wennesland that Iran would “have to respond” if Israel’s ongoing military operations to rescue hostages and eliminate the Hamas threat in Gaza continues.
“Iran sent a message to Israel on Saturday stressing that it does not want further escalation in the Hamas-Israel war, but that it will have to intervene if the Israeli operation in Gaza continues,” Axios claimed, adding that Wennesland allegedly conveyed Amir-Abdollahian’s threat to Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.”
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency and PressTV, both affiliated with the Islamist regime, reported on the meeting between Wennesland and Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday. Neither indicated that the foreign minister suggested Iran would attack Israel if allowed to respond to Hamas. Tasnim instead claimed that Amir-Abdollahian pressured the U.N. envoy to demand the creation of “a humanitarian corridor into Gaza to evacuate injured civilians” — though not, apparently, to evacuate refugees responding to the IDF’s request. Iran has not, at press time, urged Egypt, which shares a border with Jordan, to open that border to allow for the evacuation the IDF ordered on Friday. Egypt’s government has firmly refused to take in Palestinians despite claiming to enthusiastically support them in theory.
Hamas has also reportedly prevented Gazan civilians from finding safety. An IDF spokesman said on Saturday that Israel is witnessing “an active effort by Hamas to block and prevent the population from going south.”
“We continue to urge the residents of Gaza City, go south … Hamas wants you as human shields … This is for your personal safety,” IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari urged. “We are going to attack very widely in Gaza City in the near future.”
Iranian regime news agencies did not indicate that the nation’s foreign minister suggested pressuring Hamas in any way to stop blocking the evacuation of civilians from the area.
“The U.N. must act urgently to stop the Israeli strikes on civilians in Gaza because tomorrow will be late, the foreign minister warned,” Tasnim added without elaborating.
PressTV similarly repeated the threat that “tomorrow is too late” to stop the Israeli operation but did not explain what exactly Amir-Abdollahian was implying would happen tomorrow.
“The opportunity for a political approach is just for today, and tomorrow is too late,” PressTV quoted the foreign minister.
Amir-Abdollahian’s threats followed meetings with leaders of some of the deadliest terrorist outfits in the region, including “a number of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials” and Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, according to the Tasnim News Agency. Nasrallah reportedly threatened that Hezbollah would also join the fray against Israeli operations in remarks with Amir-Abdollahian, claiming, “all scenarios are fully prepared.”