Iranian Foreign Minister: Cease-Fire, Prisoner Swap Would Be Fair

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Iran's foreign minister said Monday that a cease-fire and an exchange of prisoners would be acceptable and fair in the Israeli-Lebanese conflict.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was speaking after talks with Syrian Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.

"We believe that we should think of an acceptable and fair [deal] to resolve this," he said. "In fact, there can be a cease-fire followed by a prisoner swap."

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On Sunday, Lebanese officials said that Israel had sent the terms of a possible cease-fire through Italian mediators. The terms were the release of two captured Israeli soldiers, and a Hezbollah pullback to roughly 20 miles from the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Mottaki did not take questions.

"The circumstances prevailing in the region are not in the interests of the Zionist entity," he said, referring to Israel. "The attack launched by Israel was orchestrated."

Iran and Syria are the principal sponsors of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that provoked the current fighting when its guerrillas crossed into northern Israel last Wednesday and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

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Syria and Iran have applauded Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, which triggered an Israeli offensive in Lebanon that has killed nearly 200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 400 others.

Israeli warplanes have also struck Lebanese bridges, power plants, fuel storage tanks, harbors and Beirut airport, making the country pay a price for the government's acknowledged failure to control Hezbollah.

On Sunday, Iran threatened "unimaginable damage" to Israel if it were to attack Syria. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Hezbollah was winning its fight against Israel.

Syria has also warned that any attack would be met by "a firm and direct response whose timing and methods are unlimited."