Iran media says Lebanon outplayed US in Israel maritime talks

The calculation by the Lebanese side may be that a US administration seeking to re-enter the Iran deal will be more favorable to Lebanon in discussions.

An Israeli naval vessel sails in the Mediterranean sea near the border with Lebanon, as Mount Carmel and the Israeli city of Haifa are seen in the background December 16, 2013 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An Israeli naval vessel sails in the Mediterranean sea near the border with Lebanon, as Mount Carmel and the Israeli city of Haifa are seen in the background December 16, 2013
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, relying on reports in Western media, has championed the Lebanese attempt to frustrate US-backed talks on delimiting the maritime borders between Israel and Lebanon.
Lebanon sought to prevent the Trump administration from gaining another foreign-policy success regarding Israel and prefers to complete the discussions under a Biden administration, Tasnim reported.
Lebanon, led by pro-Hezbollah President Michel Aoun, may be calculating that a US administration seeking to reenter the Iran deal will be more favorable to Lebanon in the discussions. In the past, the US ostensibly has gone soft on Hezbollah’s activities as it was attempting to get a deal with Iran because the Islamic Republic backs the terrorist group and has sought to keep the US from isolating it.
Tasnim acknowledged foreign media reports about the degree of Iranian control in Lebanon through Hezbollah.
“The sources claimed that Lebanon is currently controlled by an armed party that runs the country with a non-Lebanese agenda,” the pro-regime news agency said. “US sources note that it was clear from the outset that the Lebanese negotiating team would never give a gift to the Trump administration, which is leaving the White House, and would prefer to present it to the new US administration led by Joe Biden.”
The overall issue is that mapping an agreed-upon maritime boundary would aid gas exploration. Israel recently took delivery of a new Sa’ar 6-class corvette designed to defend the exclusive economic zone off its coast.
Hezbollah has pressured Lebanon not to cut a deal with Israel, which would benefit both countries and increase foreign investment in secure offshore rights. Lebanon is in a financial crisis and needs tens of billions of dollars in cash as a bailout.
Hezbollah holds Lebanon hostage, using the country as a base for missiles and threats against Israel. Its leadership has recently indicated that the country should not rely on the West, including the US or France, and should instead shift toward China.
This is part of an Iranian-backed shift in the region, including among Tehran’s allies in Iraq. However, Beijing wants stability in the region and would prefer economic success as opposed to the rotting failure caused by Hezbollah’s economic stranglehold.
The calculations on the maritime discussions illustrate Iran’s worldview that takes into account changes in the US administration. This is a regime that carefully calculates throughout the region what moves to take next.


Tags Lebanon