Druze politician says Iran gains in Lebanon as Arabs abandon it

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said on Thursday that Iran had gained more power in Lebanon because Arab states had abandoned the country, and that nobody could replace Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri after his decision to step away from politics.

In an interview with broadcaster MTV, Jumblatt also stepped up his criticism of the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, the country's dominant party, saying Lebanon was not a rocket-launching platform, in reference to its vast arsenal.

Jumblatt said that he had agreed with Russian officials during a recent visit to Moscow that what he described as the Arabs' abandonment of Lebanon had given more power to Iran.

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