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As the Israeli army prepares for a comprehensive ground offensive in Gaza, Iran has issued a new warning about the danger of violence spreading to a wider geography.

In a social media post, Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations warned that if Israel's war and humanitarian crimes in Gaza are not prevented, the situation could spiral out of control and have far-reaching consequences.

"If the war crimes and genocide of Israeli apartheid are not stopped immediately, the situation may spiral out of control and have far-reaching consequences, for which the responsibility lies with the UN, the Security Council and the states that have led the Council to an impasse," the post said, describing Israel's policy towards the Palestinians as an apartheid regime.

The message from the Iranian mission to the UN came after the American news website Axios reported that Tehran had sent a message to Tel Aviv through the UN warning it would be forced to respond if it launched a ground offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Diplomatic efforts stepped up

The United States is continuing diplomatic efforts to prevent the conflict from spilling over, particularly into Lebanon, and sparking a regional war, with a focus on keeping Iran out of the conflict.

The United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahiyan in Beirut on Saturday. Abdullahiyan later met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric emphasized that all of Wennesland's meetings were to discuss diplomatic efforts to release hostages, secure humanitarian access and prevent the conflict from spreading to the wider region.