Ahmadinejad Lebanese university 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Thursday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's two-day visit to Lebanon is intentionally provocative. "It is quite clear that he is the bearer of a violent message. He comes to a highly volatile region with the intention to play with fire," he said.
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He added that the visit "emphasizes that a state within a state has emerged in Lebanon over the last few years," referring obviously to the Hizbullah state.
"It seems that after he stole votes in Teheran, he is now coming here to steal the whole country,” the spokesman said.
Nonetheless, thousands of cheering Lebanese welcomed Ahmadinejad when he arrived on Wednesday, throwing rose petals and sweets at his motorcade. Hizbullah supporters used mosque loudspeakers Thursday to rally crowds ahead of a trip by Iran's president to southern Lebanon near the border with Israel.
Ahmadinejad was scheduled to make a trip to Lebanon's Shi'ite heartland in the south and the Israeli border, which will emphasize Iran's support for Hizbullah's fight with Israel.
Residents of southern Lebanese were heading to Bint Jbeil, a border village that was bombed during the Second Lebanon War to greet the Iranian president Thursday afternoon.
Many students in the south skipped school Thursday to await Ahmadinejad.
Not everyone welcomed Ahmadinejad, however. A group of 250 politicians, lawyers and activists sent an open letter to Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, criticizing Teheran's backing of Hizbullah and expressing worry Iran was looking to drag Lebanon into a war with Israel.
"One group in Lebanon draws power from you ... and has wielded it over another group and the state," the letter said, addressing Ahmadinejad.
"Your talk of 'changing the face of the region starting with Lebanon' and 'wiping Israel off the map through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon' ... makes it seem like your visit is that of a high commander to his front line," it said.Ahmadinejad receives honorary doctorate
Ahmadinejad was awarded an honorary doctorate in political sciences from the Lebanese University in Beirut on Thursday, according to a Press TV report. During his speech at the university, Ahmadinejad reportedly accused the West of blocking other countries from accessing peaceful nuclear technology.
“They have deprived other nations of this technology and have monopolized it,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
The Iranian leader also slammed the US for its military policies in the Middle East, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan under the guise of the War on Terror.
"Investing hope in Britain, the US and other Western countries to resolve problems in the region is useless since they happen to be among those that founded the Zionist regime… and definitely cannot play the role of a mediator," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Thursday, Ahmadinejad called on all religious scholars
and leaders to come together in solving challenges facing human
societies during a meeting with Lebanese scholars, clerics and religious
leaders on the second and last day of his visit to Lebanon, Press TV
“Scholars of divine religions can put major challenges
facing human societies on the agenda to find … solutions to them,”
Ahmadinejad said, according to the Press TV report.
religions guide mankind to prosperity and invite human societies to
monotheism, justice and friendship," he added.'Iran's
domination of Lebanon has destroyed any chance for peace'
spokesman Mark Regev slammed the trip Thursday, saying "Iran's
domination of Lebanon through its proxy Hizbullah has destroyed any
chance for peace, has turned Lebanon into an Iranian satellite and made
Lebanon a hub for regional terror and instability."
evening, Hizbullah held a General Assembly meeting and mass rally in
Beirut in honor of Ahamdinejad. Speaking to the assembled supporters at
the event via an interpreter, Ahmadinejad praised Lebanon for being an
"example" and called it a "university for Jihad." Lebanon and Iran, he
said, are "two nations that love each other and have much in common,"
primarily the fight against Israel.
He went on to speak about the
"Zionist regime," attacking Israel for "the massacre of innocent
people" and "violations of international law."