|Michel Sleiman 370.(Photo by: REUTERS/Andres Stapff)|
Lebanese leader blames Iran for Hezbollah UAV
By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
Sleiman: Tehran at fault for drone downed over Israel; Hezbollah threatens rocket fire on Israel "from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat."
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has sent a letter of protest to his Iranian
counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, complaining about the recent Hezbollah drone
launch into Israeli airspace, the Lebanese daily Al Mustaqbal reported on
The report cited a high-level official who accompanied Sleiman on
his visit to Rome over the weekend as saying that the president wrote to
Ahmadinejad via Iran’s Energy Minister Majid Namjoo during his recent visit to
Sleiman slammed Iran for failing to inform the Lebanese government
about the drone operation, and said Tehran had disregarded all diplomatic norms
in its dealings with Lebanon.
“This step is an utter disregard of the
feelings of the Lebanese and their commitment to national sovereignty,” Al
Mustaqbal cited Sleiman as writing in his letter to Ahmadinejad. Iran’s Lebanese
proxy Hezbollah said it launched the Iranian-made drone, dubbed the “Ayoub,”
which Israel downed on October 6.
Iran’s state-controlled media and news
sites linked to the IRGC have reported extensively on the drone, claiming it had
obtained images of top-secret Israeli sites.
However, a senior Israeli
military official later said he did not believe the drone possessed a
camera. “To the best of our knowledge, no,” the official told
The report of Sleiman’s letter came after a visit by Iran’s
powerful Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to Beirut on Saturday, following a
short visit to Damascus.
During his Beirut visit, Larijani leveled
criticism at some Arab countries for sending arms to Syrian rebels fighting
against Tehran’s ally, Bashar Assad.
“Sides sending arms to fuel internal
fighting in Syria aim at dealing a blow to defiance and resistance against
Israel,” Larijani said. Alluding to Hezbollah, Iran’s parliament speaker also
lauded Lebanon’s “resistance” against Israel, saying that it and Hamas were
Al Mustaqbal cited the same official source as saying
that Sleiman was angered by Larijani’s criticisms, saying that they went against
the Baabda Declaration, the resolution adopted by Lebanon’s national dialogue
committee in June which aims to distance Lebanon from regional
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened on Sunday to fire
“thousands of rockets” at Israeli cities if Lebanon was attacked.
Iranian-backed terror group would be “able to target the entire occupied
territories, from the Lebanese border to Jordan to the Red Sea, from Kiryat
Shmona to Eilat,” Nasrallah said, according to Lebanon’s As-Safir
In a speech in southern Beirut to mark the Shi’ite festival of
Ashura, Nasrallah urged Arab and Islamic governments to arm “resistance
factions” in Gaza.
Nasrallah vowed to bomb Tel Aviv and other Israeli
cities with thousands of rockets in any future war.
“If Israel is shaken
and confused by a small number of Fajr-5 rockets, less than 10 in eight days,
how will it cope with thousands of rockets that will hit Tel Aviv if Lebanon is
attacked?” he said.
Echoing remarks made last week by Iran’s Parliament
Speaker Ali Larijani, Nasrallah urged Arab and Islamic governments to send
military aid to Gaza.
“Gaza and Palestine don’t only need your sympathy
and visits, but they also need your weapons and money,” Nasrallah said,
according to As-Safir.