(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hizbullah held a General Assembly meeting and mass rally in Beirut on Wednesday evening, in honor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad who is on a two-day visit to the country.
Speaking to the assembled supporters at the event via an interpreter, Ahmadinejad praised Lebanon for being an "example" and called it a "university for Jihad." Lebanon and Iran, he said, are "two nations that love each other and have much in common," primarily the fight against Israel.
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He went on to speak about the "Zionist regime," attacking Israel for "the massacre of innocent people" and "violations of international law."
The group also screened a speech from Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah at the rally, where he welcomed the Iranian leader and called him "strong support for the opposition," saying that the Iranians and Palestinians stand together against Israel.
Earlier on Wednesday, US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that,"The United States supports the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon. We reject any efforts to destabilize or inflame tensions within Lebanon," AFP reported.
Ahmadinejad met with Lebanese President
Michel Suleiman shortly after his arrival.
“We support Lebanon fully, and we call for the liberation of occupied lands in Lebanon and in Syria,” the Iranian President said.
Ahmadinejad said of Lebanon, "I feel like I am at home, like I am in my country."
The Iranian president presented a gift to the Lebanese president, which
was only described as a "state of the art device owned by only six
countries across the globe." He said that the
device would be useful for scientific research.
"We seek a unified, modern Lebanon, and we stand by the Lebanese government and people," Ahmadinejad said. "We have both common interests and enemies."
Suleiman went on to thank his Iranian partner for Iran's support,
saying, "I assured Ahmadinejad that Lebanon is keen to oblige Israel on
implementing UN Security Council resolutions." He
continued, "We also discussed international terrorism and how to
differentiate it from the resistance."
Speaking about Iran's controversial nuclear program, the Lebanese
president said that he stresses "the right of states, including Iran, to
acquire nuclear energy and use it for peaceful purposes."
At the press conference, the two presidents announced that they had
signed bilateral memoranda of understanding on economic, trade,
environmental and energy issues.
Ahmadinejad is expected to visit battlegrounds of the Second Lebanon War
in southern Lebanon, including Bint Jbail and Maroun a-Ras on Wednesday
and Thursday, and reportedly wants to go to the border with Israel and
throw rocks at IDF soldiers.