Annan urges Iran, Syria to help disarm Hizbullah

Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Iran as well as Syria on Wednesday to cooperate in trying to restore Lebanon's political independence and disarm militias, the first time the UN chief has issued a report linking Tehran to instability in Lebanon. US Ambassador John Bolton said Wednesday that Annan's decision to single out Iran was "significant" and "an important step forward" because it recognizes "that Iran's financing terrorist groups in Lebanon and Syria has a significant impact on what happens in those two countries." Annan mentioned Iran in a report on implementation of a September 2004 Security Council resolution that called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, the disbanding and disarmament of all militias, and the extension of government authority throughout the country. The secretary-general made no mention of Iran financing terrorist groups. But he did note the "close ties, with frequent contacts and regular communication," that Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas, who are listed as a terrorist group by the United States, have with Syria and Iran.