Iran may be behind the escalating violence between Israel and Lebanon, as it seeks to deflect world pressure on its nuclear programme, the US ambassador to Iraq has said.
"I believe that it has a lot to do with the evolving situation with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue," Zalmay Khalilzad told CNN.
"It is possible that the Iranians refuse to cooperate with the proposal that was offered to them as they come under more pressure to cooperate, and they may escalate things in Lebanon," said Khalilzad, a regional specialist who studied in Beirut.
Israel and the United States both blame Iran, along with Syria, of having close control over Lebanon's Hezbollah militants who captured two Israeli soldiers in an attack that sparked Israeli military retaliation against Lebanon.
That violence came as world powers readdressed Iran to the UN Security Council, after expressing frustration to Tehran's failure to respond to a deadline on a deal to resolve the global dispute over its nuclear programme.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Israel against making any aggression against Syria, in a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, state television reported.