Saad Hariri
Saad HaririReuters

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation Saturday, citing Iran's "grip" on the country and threats to his life, AFP reports.

"I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister," he said in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia by the Al-Arabiya news network.

"I feel... that my life is being targeted," added Hariri.

"In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli," he stated.

Hariri, a two-time prime minister whose father Rafik was assassinated when he held the same position in 2005, accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of seeking hegemony in the region.

His resignation came less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah belongs, was formed.

Only a few months ago, Hariri insisted that Hezbollah does not control Lebanon and claimed that Israel knows this fact well.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to Hariri's resignation on Saturday night, saying, "The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri and his remarks are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into a second Lebanon.”

“This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East. The international community needs to unite and confront this aggression," he added.

Iran also reacted to Hariri's resignation, warning it would create tension in Lebanon and the region.

"The resigning Lebanese prime minister's repetition of the unrealistic and unfounded accusations of the Zionists, Saudis and Americans against Iran is an indication that this resignation is a new scenario for creating tension in Lebanon and the region," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement published on the ministry website and quoted by Reuters.

"But we believe that the resistant people of Lebanon will pass this stage easily,” he added.