Iran's unprecedented stance on Gaza: Khamenei's message and regional implications

Press Highlights
2023-11-16 | 01:21
High views
Iran's unprecedented stance on Gaza: Khamenei's message and regional implications
Iran's unprecedented stance on Gaza: Khamenei's message and regional implications

In an unprecedented development in the Iranian stance on the war in Gaza, Reuters reported Wednesday that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a clear message to the head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, Ismail Haniyeh.

This article was originally published in and translated from Lebanese newspaper Nidaa Al-Watan. 
The message stated, "We will not enter the war and silence the voices that criticize us and Hezbollah."

According to diplomatic sources from Arab countries, Iran informed Egypt that it will not engage in open war, and similarly, Hezbollah as well.

In this context, Lebanon is expected to be significantly affected by this Iranian shift, given the connection between Hezbollah and Iran.

Despite Hezbollah's publicly declared position to continue confrontations with Israel, Deputy Secretary-General of the party, Sheikh Naim Qassem, stated Wednesday, "Whether the war happens now or not is related to the developments in Gaza, and is also linked to Israel's decision to initiate war, which we are currently unaware of."

What did the Reuters report say?

Citing three senior officials, Reuters reported that Khamenei "delivered a clear message" to Haniyeh when they met in Tehran earlier this month: "You did not give us any warning regarding the October 7 attack on Israel, and we will not enter the war on your behalf."

Iran, a longstanding supporter of Hamas, will continue to provide political and moral support to the group but will not intervene directly, according to officials in Iran and Hamas who were briefed on the discussions and requested to remain anonymous.

However, a Hamas official told Reuters that the Supreme Leader pressured Haniyeh to silence voices within the movement calling for Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah to join the battle against Israel with full force.

According to the agency, Hezbollah was also surprised by the destructive attack launched by Hamas last month, resulting in the death of 1,200 Israelis.

Furthermore, three sources close to Hezbollah revealed that its fighters were not on high alert, even in villages near the borders that served as the front lines in its 2006 war with Israel, and they had to be quickly present. A Hezbollah leader said, "We woke up to the war."

Additionally, two Israeli security sources, who requested anonymity, stated, "Israel is not seeking an escalation of hostile acts," but added that the country is prepared to fight on new fronts if necessary to protect itself. They pointed out that security officials consider Hezbollah the most direct and potent threat to Israel.

In a related context, Arab diplomatic sources revealed to Nidaa Al-Watan that Tehran informed Cairo that it does not want to engage in open war, and likewise, Hezbollah does not want to do so.

It was clarified that the Iranian side informed the Egyptian side that it looks forward to an Egyptian role leading to exerting international, mainly American, pressure on Israel to stop its aggression on Gaza.

The sources also pointed out that Egypt, which opposed the displacement of Gaza residents to Sinai, now stands against the displacement of these residents from northern Gaza to its south.

The sources then noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to "entangle" the United States "more and more" in the war. Netanyahu faces the problem of Israeli settlers displaced from the northern settlements on the border with Lebanon and how to arrange their return to these settlements in light of the evolving field developments on those borders.

Moreover, the sources expected the war in Gaza to continue until the end of the current year.

In the same context, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in a television interview that Tehran and Beirut "do not want to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will not participate if there are no provocations."

On the other hand, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths affirmed that he and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed concerns regarding the repercussions of the expansion of the war in Gaza. 

Griffiths stated during a press briefing in Geneva, "If a war breaks out in the north between Hezbollah and Israel, I fear the worst."

What about the issue of UNIFIL forces in the south?

Following the information reported by Nidaa Al-Watan Wednesday about the military court releasing Mohammed Ayyad, accused of killing Irish soldier Sean Rooney in a shooting incident in Sarafand involving a UNIFIL vehicle, UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti announced, "The peacekeeping mission has learned that the Lebanese authorities released the person who was arrested after the attack that led to the death of UNIFIL peacekeeper Sean Rooney due to his deteriorating health."

He added, "We are working to confirm this information from the military court."

He also reminded that "the Lebanese government has announced on several occasions its commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice," emphasizing that UNIFIL continues "to call for accountability for all perpetrators and justice for soldier Rooney and his family."

However, a Lebanese official stated that Ayyad was released on bail of 1.2 billion Lebanese pounds (about $13,377).

In response, MP Ashraf Rifi likened the military court's release of Ayyad to "the release of the accused in the killing of pilot officer Samer Hanna" and "the trial of the Arab clans in the events of Khaldeh." He said, "The result is the same: the military court is a tool in the hands of Hezbollah, and Lebanon pays the price."

Breaking Headlines

Lebanon News

Press Highlights










Parliament rejects committee formation to investigate deposit 'Loss’
Is there a new 'displacement' plan from Gaza?
LBCI Previous
Download now the LBCI mobile app
To see the latest news, the latest daily programs in Lebanon and the world
Google Play
App Store
We use
We use cookies to make
your experience on this
website better.
Learn More