UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States told the United Nations on Tuesday that it is not seeking conflict with Iran, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Washington would act quickly and decisively if Iran or its proxies attack American personnel in any place.
Blinken spoke before the 15-member U.N. Security Council amid international fears that the conflict between Israel and Iranian-backed Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip could spiral into a broader war, drawing in the heavily armed Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is also supported by Tehran.
“The United States is not seeking conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to expand. But if Iran or its proxies attack American personnel anywhere, make no mistake: We will defend our people, we will defend our security, quickly and decisively. .”
The US military is taking new steps to protect its troops in the Middle East as concerns grow about attacks by Iranian-backed groups, officials told Reuters. The United States has also sent warships and fighter jets to the region to try to deter Iran and Iranian-backed groups, including two aircraft carriers.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Blinken’s comments. Iran was due to address the Security Council meeting on the Middle East later on Tuesday.
“We call on all member states to send a strong and united message to any state or non-state actor that is considering opening another front in this conflict against Israel or that may attack Israel’s partners, including the United States: do not do it. Let’s not add fuel to the fire,” Blinken said.
Joined by his Arab counterparts, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters at the United Nations that the threat of the conflict spreading was a “real danger.”
“We are all doing everything we can to stop it. There is a threat of this spreading to the West Bank, Lebanon and other fronts. None of us want that, we are all working against it,” he said.
VIOLATIONS IN GAZA
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for the protection of civilians in the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants, expressing concern over “clear violations of international humanitarian law” in the Gaza Strip.
More than 700 Palestinians died in overnight The Israeli airstrikes, Gaza’s Health Ministry said, are the highest death toll in 24 hours since Israel began a bombing campaign to crush Hamas militants who surprised the country with a deadly attack on October 7.
Guterres told the Security Council that at a “crucial moment like this” it was vital to be clear that war has rules, starting with the fundamental principle of respecting and protecting civilians.
“It is also important to recognize that the Hamas attacks did not occur in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” Guterres said.
“But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify Hamas’s heinous attacks. And those heinous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, described Guterres’ speech as “shocking”. In a post on It was planned.
“I will not meet with the UN Secretary General. After October 7 there is no room for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased from the world!” Cohen wrote.
Report by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Howard Goller and Deepa Babington
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