Iran seeking to avoid full-scale conflict with Israel – CNN

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Iran and regional armed groups with close ties to Tehran are treading a fine line between opposing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and allowing the crisis to escalate into a full-fledged conflict, CNN reported on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.

According to US officials interviewed by the American network, Washington believes Iran does not have complete control over some of its allied groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has been engaged in recurring border clashes with Israel for weeks. According to the article, American officials “are deeply concerned” that Hezbollah’s internal politics may force the group to escalate the situation.

Nonetheless, Iran is aware that if Hezbollah launches a major attack on Israel or the US, which is West Jerusalem’s main ally, the retaliation could have “devastating” consequences, according to the report. According to one US official, the group’s low-level attacks on Israel have allowed Iran to be seen as “doing something” about hostilities in Gaza while avoiding a direct conflict.

According to CNN sources, those actions are part of a “coordinated strategy,” but they warn that this approach could backfire and cause the situation to spiral out of control, even though neither party wants that to happen.

In the midst of fears of a larger regional conflict, the Israeli news outlet Ynet reported on Friday that Israel is actively procuring weapons, having already spent $1.5 billion on arms produced both domestically and abroad.

The CNN and Ynet reports come after Yemen’s Houthi government, which has close ties to Iran, confirmed using drones and missiles to attack Israel in support of Palestine. Meanwhile, Hezbollah announced on Thursday that it had launched several strikes against Israel’s military, which had responded in kind. The new barrage came ahead of Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, giving his first public speech 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.