Iran has warned its proxy Hezbollah not to give Israel cause to launch a full-scale war along the Israel-Lebanon border, fearing it would risk gains it believes it has made in the region since Hamas’s October 7 massacres in southern Israel, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Iranian officials, who met with their Hezbollah counterparts in Lebanon earlier this month, praised the terror group’s ongoing attacks on northern Israel, but warned against escalating to all-out war, a Hezbollah member told the newspaper.

According to the report, Tehran believes its allies in the “Axis of Resistance” have been victorious since October 7, having curtailed normalization efforts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and with the international community now focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Netanyahu is squeezed in the corner now. Don’t give him a way out. Let us not give him the benefit of launching a wider war because this would make him a winner,” the Iranian representatives told Hezbollah officials, according to the paper’s source.

War erupted between Israel and Hamas on October 7, when some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, mostly civilians. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 360 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza, due to the war there. Neither side has utilized its full capabilities in the clashes, so as to avoid a full-blown war.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in six civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 10 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 206 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon, but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 32 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 30 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of people in the border areas of each country.

Israel has warned it will no longer tolerate the presence of Hezbollah along the Lebanon frontier, where it could attempt to carry out an attack similar to the massacre committed by Hamas on October 7. While preferring a diplomatic solution, senior officials have warned of a full-scale military campaign if efforts to secure an agreement fail.

Hezbollah has said it would only stop its attacks if a full ceasefire is reached in Gaza.

According to the Post, Tehran has also sent diplomats and senior military officials to meet with members of other proxies to reign in attacks on US troops in the region, Lebanese and Iraqi officials briefed on the talks said on condition of anonymity.

One such visit included the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, who came to Baghdad last month and convinced groups aligned with Tehran to halt attacks on US forces, multiple Iranian and Iraqi sources told Reuters.

There have been no attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria since February 4, compared to more than 20 in the two weeks before Qaani’s visit, part of a surge in violence from the groups in opposition to Israel’s war against Hamas.

The lull could be a result of Iran’s influence.

“Iran is doing its utmost to prevent the expansion of the war and the escalation from reaching the point of no return,” an Iraqi official with ties to Iranian proxy militias told the Post

“Iran may have realized their interests are not served by allowing their proxies unrestricted ability to attack US and coalition forces,” an unnamed US official said.

Qaani met representatives of several of the armed groups in Baghdad Airport on January 29, less than 48 hours after Washington blamed the groups for the killing of three US soldiers at the Tower 22 outpost in Jordan, the sources told Reuters.

After the fatal drone attack, the US responded with a wave of strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq and Syria.

Qaani told the factions that drawing American blood risked a heavy US response, including strikes on their senior commanders, destruction of key infrastructure, or even a direct retaliation against Iran, sources said.

All but one group immediately acceded to Qaani’s request and the next day Kataib Hezbollah announced it was suspending attacks. One smaller but very active group, Nujaba, said it would continue attacks, arguing that US forces would only leave by force.

Source » timesofisrael