Iran's foreign minister is first to meet Lebanon's new president

November 7, 2016 18:45

BEIRUT - Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday became the first foreign minister to meet Lebanon's new president, a move that underscored Tehran's tussle for influence in Beirut with its regional arch rival Saudi Arabia.

A Christian leader and close ally of Lebanon's Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah who was elected president last week, Aoun also met an envoy sent by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier in the day.Iran, which welcomed Aoun's election as a victory for Hezbollah, is a political and military ally of Assad in the Syrian civil war. Assad's troops are supported by Iran-backed militias and Hezbollah fighters from neighboring Lebanon.

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