Iran seeks to maintain ties with Lebanon

Iranian Parliament Speaker congratulates Lebanon's new government, says Iran is keen on maintaining excellent bilateral ties with Lebanon.

Elad Benari ,

Ali Larijani
Ali Larijani
Reuters

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday that Iran is keen on maintaining excellent bilateral ties with Lebanon.

"Lebanon is an influential country in the region and Iran is keen to always see that the country is free, sovereign and independent," Larijani said upon his arrival at Beirut's airport, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Larijani also congratulated Lebanon on its new government, which was approved by the Lebanese Parliament last week.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s Cabinet is supported by Hezbollah, which is Iran’s proxy in Lebanon.

The Iranian Embassy to Lebanon announced earlier on Sunday day that Larijani's official visit aims at meeting with top officials to discuss latest developments in the region.

The visit is expected to raise concerns in the West especially that some pro-American political parties in the country have previously labeled Diab's Cabinet as the government of Hezbollah.

Diab was designated by President Michel Aoun as prime minister in mid-December, and replaces former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on October 29 following a wave of protests.

The protests in Lebanon were initially started in response to what has become known as the “WhatsApp Tax”, which would have seen a 20-cent daily fee being charged for messaging app users.

The tax was later scrapped but the protests have continued and have morphed into a cross-sectarian street mobilization against a political system seen as corrupt and broken.

Hezbollah, which has a strong political presence in Lebanon, is a major part of the Cabinet, after the group and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member Lebanese parliament in the election in May of 2018.




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