The chances that flashpoints in the Middle East could spark a conflict that sweeps the entire region have increased, Iran’s top diplomat told ABC News’ global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, “The scope of the war has become broader. This means that the risk of a broader war in the region has risen,” blaming the United States and Israel for escalating tensions.
“If the United States today stops its support – logistical, arms, political and media support – for Israel’s genocidal war, I can assure you that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] He stressed that Netanyahu would not survive for 10 minutes. So the key to solving the problem is in Washington before it is in Tel Aviv.
Raddatz pressed the Secretary of State on Iran’s role in fueling the conflict, including its long-term financial and military support for Hamas, the US-designated terrorist group that killed hundreds of civilians in Israel in its October 7 attack.
Amir Abdullahian said: “We consider Hamas to be a Palestinian liberation movement that stands against the occupation.” He added: “Of course, we have never agreed to the killing of women, children and civilians anywhere in the world. We never support that.”
Raddatz also asked the Secretary of State about Iran’s support for the Houthis — the Yemeni rebel group responsible for dozens of recent attacks on ships in the Red Sea, including American ships.
The Pentagon shared evidence of what it says is an Iranian arms smuggling network supplying the Houthis, including details of a commando mission in the Arabian Sea that succeeded in intercepting components of Iranian-made missiles heading to Yemen, but resulted in the deaths of two US Navy SEALs.
But Amir Abdullahian denied these allegations, and baselessly accused the US military of fabricating information.
“This is mostly a TV show,” he stressed, although the United Nations and other foreign governments have documented similar arms transfers from Iran.
While the October 7 attacks and their tumultuous aftermath have renewed fears of direct combat between the United States and Iran, the two countries have been on the brink of war before in recent years.
Hostilities between the two countries reached a peak in 2020, when then-US President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and a man the United States says is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and Americans. Alliance service members and were actively planning to kill more.
In the wake of Soleimani’s killing, Iranian officials vowed that they would eventually take revenge.
“This was a very big mistake by Trump. This is not something we can forget,” Amir Abdollahian said, adding that Tehran still wanted to see “all the people involved” in the strike “brought to justice.” “.
“What does it mean?” Raddatz asked. “Does this mean killing?”
He replied: “Justice will judge him.”
However, Amir Abdollahian said that whether Trump wins or loses his bid for another term in the Oval Office, he will ultimately have little impact on the relationship between the United States and Iran.
He added: “Individuals are not important. What matters is the behavior of the government in office.”
In the Middle East, Tehran exercises much of its power through its vast network of proxies — informal terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Houthis, and Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as paramilitary groups spread throughout Iraq and Syria and united by anti-Western groups. and anti-Israel sentiment.
US officials say Iran has significant influence over the network of militants who benefit from the country’s financial and military support, but Tehran has consistently downplayed or denied these links – insisting that the country only wants to see peace throughout the Middle East.
Amir Abdullahian said, “No one will benefit from any war. We believe that the solution is never war.”
ABC News’ Cindy Smith, Nate Luna and Christopher Buccia contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com