Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
on Friday warned Israel
and the US that a war against Iran and Syria
would lead to an all-out regional conflict.
"They should understand that a war on Iran and Syria will not remain in Iran and Syrian territory, but it will engulf the whole region and there is no escaping this reality,” Nasrallah said during a televised speech honoring "Martyrs' Day."
In his first response to the growing calls for a military strike on Iran following the publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) report
on the country's nuclear program, the Hezbollah chief said the Islamic Republic would respond harshly to any strike in its territory. "Iran is strong, united and has a one-of-a-kind leader and it will retaliate harshly," he said in his speech, which was delivered in Beirut's southern neighborhood of Dahia.
The IAEA report said Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb.
Iran and Syria have been supplying Hezbollah with military equipment - including thousands of rockets and other weapons – for years. Israel estimates that a strike on Iran would prompt an attack by Hezbollah from Lebanon, as well as an attack by Hamas,
which rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas is also backed by Iran.
"Over the past few days we have witnessed an escalation in threats, and suddenly there is talk that the Israeli enemy may attack the Iranian nuclear facilities…The Iranian leadership responded firmly and decisively," Nasrallah added.
Iran's Ahmadinejad (L) with Nasrallah (Archive photo: AFP)
The Hezbollah leader said the recent warning by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to which any military action against Iran's nuclear sites would be met with "iron fists," best expressed "the reality, which is that Iran is strong and has an army, a nation and unity, and should not fear the fear campaign, the ships and the American armed forces who have already conquered the entire region around Iran.
"The US wants to defeat Iran and drag it to direct negotiations – which Iran rejects," he said.
Nasrallah further warned of foreign military intervention in Syria, where President Bashar Assad continues to butcher his opposers. "The US is looking to subjugate Syria so that it will accept the conditions it has objected to in the past. Despite all the threats in the region…the state of the axis of resistance is better than ever," Nasrallah said, adding "those who are gambling on the collapse of (Assad's) regime (should) stop wasting their time.”
More than 3,500 people have been killed in Syria's crackdown on protesters, the United Nations said this week, as the military pressed its campaign to put down resistance in the city of Homs against Assad's rule.
"The brutal government crackdown on dissent in Syria has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians," UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.
"Since Syria signed the peace plan sponsored by the League of Arab States last week, more than 60 people are reported to have been killed by military and security forces, including at least 19 on the Sunday that marked Eid al-Adha (the main Muslim feast)."
Syria agreed to the Arab League plan on November 2, pledging to pull its military from restive cities, set political prisoners free and start talks with the opposition, which wants to remove Assad and introduce more democratic freedoms.
Syrians have recently called for NATO's intervention, but Assad has warned that any military intervention in his country's affairs would cause an "earthquake" that would "burn the whole region".
Reuters contributed to the report