Hezbollah chief warns war against Iran would 'engulf region'

Hassan Nasrallah's comments come as Arab leaders meet in Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran's growing influence.

    Nasrallah also slammed a proposed US peace deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Trump had dubbed the 'deal of the century' [File: Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]
    Nasrallah also slammed a proposed US peace deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Trump had dubbed the 'deal of the century' [File: Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]

    The head of the Lebanese political and armed movement Hezbollah has warned that any war against Iran would cause the Middle East to "erupt".

    Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that the United States "know well that any war on Iran will not remain confined to Iran's borders. The entire region will burn", leading to all US forces and interests in the region being "annihilated". 

    The head of the Iran-backed movement made the comments in a televised speech as emergency meetings of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and Arab League took place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

    The meetings were held in order to counter what Saudi Arabia has called Iran's growing influence in the region. They take place amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran. 

    In the year since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several other world powers Washington has since steadily ratcheted up pressure on Tehran: reimposing sanctions, moving to cut the country's oil exports to zero, blacklisting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist group" and deploying US military units to the Gulf in response to an unspecified threat.

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    Hezbollah is considered a "terrorist" organisation by the US, the European Union, the GCC and Arab League and has fought several wars with Israel

    Despite his warning, Nasrallah said the idea of war in the region is "far-fetched" as Washington and its allies know they would pay a heavy price for aggression against Tehran.

    Nasrallah, whose exact location is unknown, also said that Hezbollah has enough precision-guided missiles to "change the face of the region", but denied that the group had factories producing them. 

    Rejecting the 'deal of the century'

    During his lengthy address, Nasrallah also slammed a prosed US peace deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Trump had dubbed the "deal of the century". 

    "It's a void deal ... a historic crime," he said of the plan, which has already been rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as it is expected to largely favour Israel, a US ally. 

    "This deal is a loss of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights," Nasrallah said. 

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    Thousands of Iranians joined annual rallies in support of the Palestinian cause on Friday, also rejecting the US peace plan. 

    Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been drafting the long-awaited peace plan, the economic aspects of which are set to be presented at a conference in Bahrain next month.

    The United Nations earlier on Friday said it would not be taking part in the meeting on June 25 and 26 in the Bahraini capital, Manama. 

    In December 2017, Trump broke with decades of bipartisan policy to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in a move that prompted Palestinian officials to cut all ties with his administration. 

    The Palestinians demand Jerusalem's eastern sector as the capital of their long-promised state, while Israel insists that the whole city is its "eternal, indivisible capital".

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies