A Lebanese MP has dubbed this week’s visit by Saeed Jalili, the head of the
Iranian Supreme National Security Council, to Beirut a deliberate message of
support for Iran’s proxy Hezbollah.
In an interview with Kuwait’s
Al-Seyassah newspaper published on Wednesday, MP Fadi Karam of the Lebanese
Forces party said Jalili’s visit was primarily aimed at expressing support for
Hezbollah, and also for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Lebanese Forces is the second-largest Christian party in the country’s
parliament and is a member of the anti- Syrian March 14 bloc.
he believed there was a link between the timing of Jalili’s visit to Beirut and
a recent speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at the Shi’ite group’s
annual central iftar event, in which he criticized the March 14 alliance for
pressuring Hezbollah to hand over its weapons to the Lebanese Army.
March 14 alliance, which won the most seats in Lebanon’s 2009 general elections,
is opposed to the Assad regime in Syria, and has pushed for Hezbollah to be
disarmed, in part because of worries that Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles
might fall into Hezbollah’s hands.
In June, Lebanese political leaders
resumed talks aimed at solving the issue of Hezbollah’s weapons. However, last
month Lebanese President Michel Sleiman postponed the talks after March 14 said
it would boycott the session over Hezbollah’s refusal to discuss its
In Nasrallah’s iftar speech, the Hezbollah leader said his party
was “interested in reaching a real defense strategy that protects Lebanon,” and
that Israel would not attack Lebanon because it was afraid of
Nasrallah also said that Israel was violating Lebanese
airspace “on a daily basis” and that Lebanon must liberate the Shaba Farms
Mount Dov is an area of the Golan Heights that Lebanon
Referring to the iftar speech, Karam told Al-Seyassah that
Jalili’s visit to Beirut was intended to “convey the message both domestically
and abroad that there is no such thing as a Lebanese state...
presence in Lebanon is to support the existence of the Hezbollah mini-state,
which [Iran] considers an extension of its own interests in the
Lebanon’s Future Movement, the largest member of March 14, said
on Tuesday that Nasrallah had “dumped the only item on the National Dialogue
agenda” by refusing to give up Hezbollah’s military arsenal.
comments came after Lebanon’s former premier Saad Hariri and Progressive
Socialist Party and Druse community leader Walid Jumblatt slammed Jalili’s visit
In a report Wednesday on Jalili’s discussions with Nasrallah,
the Arabic service of Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, said the Hezbollah leader
and the Iranian official discussed the latest political developments in the
region, and particularly in Lebanon and Syria.
The report, which did not
mention any discussion of weapons, cited Hezbollah’s media relations department
and said that Jalili had met with Nasrallah following talks on Syria with
Sleiman and other senior officials.
Jalili also participated in an event
at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, to celebrate International Quds [Jerusalem]
Day, IRNA reported.
Quds Day, set for August 17, is an anti-Zionist event
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini first introduced in Iran in 1979.
promotes the event in several countries in the Arab world.
IRNA, Jalili also celebrated Iranian Journalists’ Day in Beirut. Iran ranks
fourth – behind Eritrea, Syria and North Korea – on the list of most-heavily
censored countries in the world.