Larijani Defends Hezbollah During Visit to Lebanon, Offers Economic Help
Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani expressed his country’s readiness to assist Lebanon economically and cooperate with the Lebanese government in all fields. He also defended Hezbollah, saying: “We will not allow any country to classify it a terrorist organization.”
This came in Larijani's statements during a news conference at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.
On Monday, Larijani met with Lebanese officials, including President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah.
A statement by the Lebanese presidential office said that Larijani expressed Iran’s readiness to assist Lebanon economically and that he renewed his country’s invitation to Aoun to visit Tehran.
“Lebanon is going through a sensitive stage. We hope that the new government, headed by Hassan Diab, will be able to overcome all difficulties, and we are fully prepared to cooperate with it in all fields,” the Iranian speaker stated.
He stressed that Iran could help Lebanon solve its electricity problem and provide it with pharmaceutical needs.
“We do not hide our support for the resistance, and we discussed today with the officials all areas of industrial, economic and agricultural support,” he emphasized.
Larijani defended Hezbollah, saying: “It is not terrorist, and we will not allow any country to add it on a terrorist list. The party is a supporter of Lebanon, and it confronted the Israeli aggression…”
He continued: “Had it not been for the presence of (Hezbollah), Israel would have committed more crimes and occupation in Lebanon.”
Larijani also condemned the assassination of Al-Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani.
“It is a cowardly and reprehensible operation, and the method indicates the weakness of the United States, which has not been able to achieve its goals in any other way,” he noted.
The Lebanese presidency’s statement said that the two officials discussed regional developments, including the Syrian crisis, the return of Syrian refugees and the situation in Iran.
In response to a question about the nature of the aid offered by Larijani, ministerial sources close to Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The details of this matter were not discussed, so there was no response from Aoun to the offer.”
Berri, for his part, affirmed during the meeting the importance to maintain Lebanese unity, stressing that there was “no choice for the Lebanese except to resort to the logic of unity and dialogue.”