Lebanese MP: Expel Iranian ambassador

Also says Iranian flights to Beirut should be ceased, as they may carry Hizbullah weapons, money.

jumblatt 224.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
jumblatt 224.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A pro-government Lebanese politician called Saturday for the expulsion of Iran's ambassador and the ending of Iranian flights to Beirut because they might be carrying weapons and money to Hizbullah. Walid Jumblatt, a member of the US-backed parliamentary majority, also warned in a press conference from his family home of Mukhtara, southeast of the capital, that he and parliament majority leader Saad Hariri could be targets of assassination. "Iranian flights to Beirut should be stopped because Iranian planes might be bringing in money and military equipment," said Jumblatt, a strong critic of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah. "The Iranian ambassador should be expelled from Lebanon." His comments come as Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa ended a three-day visit to Beirut Saturday without reaching a breakthrough in the months-old political deadlock between the government and opposition. Lebanon is passing through its worst political crisis since the end of the 1975-90 civil war and the parliament has failed 18 times to elect a new president. The country's top post has been vacant since pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud left office in November. Jumblatt also accused Hizbullah of monitoring the traffic of politicians' executive jets with hidden cameras at the airport, possibly to assassinate them. "I am not afraid at all but at the same time I had to confirm the information before people walk in my funeral or walk in the funeral of Saad Hariri or others because it seems they are preparing for something," he said. Pro-government politicians have blamed Syria, which backs Hizbullah, for a wave of assassinations that have claimed the lives of about a dozen politicians, journalists and members of the army and police in the past three years. Syria denies the charges. Jumblatt also hinted that Syria was behind the assassination of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh. "Damascus promised to publicize the findings of the probe into the killing within a few days, but this still hasn't happened, 50 days after the assassination," said Jumblatt. The Lebanese MP went on to allege that Mughniyeh had details about the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Commenting on Jumblatt's claims about the airport, Hizbullah said in a statement that such comments "translate his nightmares and nervous tension into a media play that includes targeting people and planes in what is closer to imagination or horror movies." "These accusations to the resistance movements in the Arab world, including Hizbullah, makes him a propagandist who repeats George Bush's claims and State Department reports," the statement added.