Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza
Iran-backed militias in the Middle East will stop their attacks in the region if a permanent ceasefire in Gaza is reached, Tehran’s ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday.
In an interview with NBC News, Amir Saeid Iravani acknowledged that Iran is sending weapons to militia groups in Palestine but said a lasting ceasefire currently being negotiated is “possible”.
Several Iran-backed groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and those under the umbrella of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have repeatedly claimed that their attacks on Israel, shipping in the Red Sea and US forces in the Middle East would cease if Israel's war on Gaza halts.
The US, a staunch supporter of Israel, has seen its troops in the Middle East attacked by Iranian-supported groups at least 180 times since the war in Gaza began in October.
US forces began retaliatory strikes after groups belonging to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq killed three American service members in a drone strike on a Jordan base.
NBC journalist Lester Holt asked Mr Iravani if the attacks would “end if there was a ceasefire in Gaza”.
“Yeah, it should,” Mr Iravani replied.
US launches retaliatory strikes on Iran-backed targets in Iraq and Syria – video
“At least it should be [a] ceasefire, permanent ceasefire, and durable ceasefire, and full ceasefire in Gaza.”
Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israeli soil in October last year, which resulted in about 1,200 deaths. Militant groups took 240 people hostage and 132 remain in Gaza after some releases.
Following the Hamas attack, Israel launched military operations in Gaza, killing more than 27,400 people, according to the local Health Ministry.
Mr Iravani told Holt that “we said very explicitly that, in the case of the Palestine, we're sending arms, we're training them and empowering them”.
He also said that Iran works with other groups in the region like the Houthis on “some co-ordination, co-operation, consultation and maybe some financing also”.
Ceasefire negotiations are currently taking place via mediators from Qatar, the US and Egypt. The withdrawal of the Israeli military and a possible hostage and detainee swap are also being discussed.
“The ceasefire is possible,” Mr Iravani told Holt.
“I think that in the midterm, we can have a sustainable ceasefire between Hamas and the other party.”
Mr Iravani said the immediate needs of Gazans should be met right away.
“After that, we should send the humanitarian assistance to the Gaza people,” he said. “Rehabilitation of Gaza will be the next steps we should take.”