Lebanese PM Hariri and Iranian VP Rahim 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi informed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad
Hariri on Sunday of Teheran’s willingness to help the Lebanese army, the Iranian
news agency ISNA reported on Sunday.
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“Iran has always said that alongside
the Lebanese army and resistance, it is ready to defend Lebanon,” he said,
adding that Iran’s defense equipment and facilities served both Iran and
“sustainable security in the region,” according to the report.
later met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His visit follows
Ahmadinejad’s October tour of Lebanon, during which he reinforced Teheran’s ties
to Hizbullah, a longtime protege of the Shi’ite powerhouse. The exuberant
welcome the Shi’ite Hizbullah staged for Ahmadinejad in Lebanon threw Hariri’s
Western-backed factions in the government on the defensive.
touchdown in Teheran, Hariri was greeted by Iranian Vice President Muhammad Reza
Rahimi and reviewed an honor guard before meeting with Ahmadinejad and
At the event, Rahimi said, “Iran regards Lebanon’s peace and
security as those of its own and defends Lebanese rights against aggressors and
occupiers,” ISNA reported.
Also on Sunday, Iranian Revolutionary Guard
commander Ramezan Sharif blamed Israel for the thwarted hijacking of an Iranian
Air flight this past Friday.
“Israel intended to use its mercenaries in
the recent skyjacking affair to create a media hype against Iran,” Sharif
He added that “the president’s recent trip to Lebanon was a
regional defeat for the Zionist regime,” PressTV reported.
fragile unity government, which includes Hizbullah, has been struggling ahead of
expected indictments by the UN tribunal investigating former Lebanese prime
minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination.
Speculation that Hizbullah
members will be indicted in the case has fueled fears of a new political crisis
and violence in Lebanon, and raised concerns over what Iran would do in that
In remarks in English, released by his office ahead of the Iran
visit, Hariri underlined concerns for stability.
“Impairing the stability
of any country of the region is a threat to the interests of Arabs and Iran at
the same time,” Hariri said. “Therefore, I consider that Iran is concerned by
all effort to provide elements of stability in all countries of the region,
Hariri was also expected to meet with Iran’s Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during the two-day visit, as well as with other top
Iranian officials, Iranian state television reported.