Ahmadinejad to US, Israel: 'Stop sedition in Lebanon'

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 19, 2011 14:34

Iranian president threatens to "cut off hands," warns: "Your decline is on a fast track"; Saudi FM: Situation in Lebanon is "dangerous."

2 minute read.



Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad wants YOU 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned Israel, the United States, and some European countries to halt their "sedition" in Lebanon or the Lebanese people would "cut off" their hands, AFP reported.

Referring to the group of countries, Ahmadinejad said during a live speech in the city of Yazd: "You are on a rough downhill path that will take you into a deep valley and your actions show that your decline is on a fast track."

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"With these actions, you are damaging your reputation. Stop your interference. If you don't stop your sedition (in Lebanon), then the Lebanese nation and regional countries will cut your nasty, plotting hand," AFP quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Lebanon is enduring a political crisis stemming from a UN court investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Earlier Wednesday, Saudi Arabia abandoned efforts to mediate in Lebanon's political crisis, removing a key US ally from talks to ease tensions after Hizbullah toppled the government in Beirut last week.

In an interview Wednesday with the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV, Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the Saudi king has decided he is "withdrawing his hand" from Lebanon.

Asked about the situation in Lebanon, al-Faisal said: "It's dangerous, particularly if it reaches separatism or the division of Lebanon. This would mean the end of Lebanon as a model of peaceful coexistence between religions and ethnicities and different factions."

The Shi'ite group, which denies any role in Hariri's 2005 killing, forced the collapse of Lebanon's Western-backed government last week in a dispute over the court. The Iran-and Syria-sponsored group says the tribunal is a conspiracy by Israel and the United States.

Many fear the political crisis could lead to street protests and violence that have been the scourge of this tiny Arab country of 4 million people for years, including a devastating 1975-1990 civil war and sectarian battles between Sunnis and Shi'ites in 2008.

The Hague-based tribunal released a sealed indictment in the case on Tuesday, but its contents may not become public for weeks as Belgian judge Daniel Fransen decides whether there is enough evidence for a trial.

The indictment is the latest turn in a deepening crisis in Lebanon. Last week, ministers from Hizbullah and their allies walked out of the Cabinet when Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri — the son of the slain leader — refused to renounce the tribunal.

Lengthy negotiations lie ahead between Lebanon's factions as they attempt to build a new government. On Tuesday, Turkey's foreign minister was in Beirut in a coordinated visit with Qatar's prime minister to discuss the political crisis in Lebanon.

The officials met with Sa'ad Hariri — who is staying on as a caretaker prime minister — and, separately, with Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

According to Lebanon's power-sharing system, the president must be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shi'ite. Each faith makes up about a third of Lebanon's population of 4 million.


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