US Senator Lindsey Graham has issued a warning to Iran, stating that the American military could target its oil industry if there is any escalation in the Middle East. Concerns have been raised that the Hezbollah group, backed by Tehran, could join the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Graham made these comments during an appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday. He described Hezbollah as a proxy of Iran and claimed that a massive attack on Israel by the group would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state.
In response to this potential threat, Graham stated that he could introduce a resolution in the Senate, allowing military action by the United States in conjunction with Israel to disrupt Iran’s oil business. He warned Iran that if they were to escalate the war, the US military would retaliate.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, appearing on Al Jazeera on Sunday, cautioned that if Israel continued striking Gaza, it is highly probable that many other fronts would be opened. He called on Muslim nations to support the Palestinian cause, echoing similar calls made by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Despite these warnings, Iranian representatives at the UN clarified that Iran’s armed forces would not engage unless directly attacked by Israel first, as reported by Reuters on Sunday.
In response to the escalating tensions, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the deployment of additional military assets to the Eastern Mediterranean. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, two guided-missile destroyers, and a guided-missile cruiser will be joining the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier group already in the region. This move aims to deter any state or non-state actor from escalating the conflict further.
US President Joe Biden, on the other hand, acknowledged that there is currently no clear evidence linking Tehran to Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7. However, the situation remains tense, with the potential for further escalation hanging in the balance.
The threat of Hezbollah joining the conflict between Israel and Hamas brings added complexity to an already volatile situation. The proxy relationship between Hezbollah and Iran raises concerns about the potential for a significant attack on Israel that could have severe consequences for the region. Lindsey Graham’s proposed resolution indicates a willingness to use military action to protect Israel’s security, particularly by targeting Iran’s oil industry.
Iran, meanwhile, continues to issue warnings and call for support from Muslim nations amidst the ongoing violence. The differing statements from Iranian representatives at the UN suggest a cautious approach to engagement, only responding if directly attacked by Israel.
The United States, in response to the threat of further escalation, has bolstered its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. This deployment aims to prevent any state or non-state actor from escalating the conflict and serves as a deterrent.
As tensions remain high, it is crucial for all parties involved to seek diplomatic solutions and de-escalate the situation. The potential for further violence underscores the urgent need for dialogue and negotiations to prevent a full-blown regional conflict. The international community must actively engage in efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.