Iran FM visits Lebanon, offers support for new government

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, poses for a picture with Hezbollah lawmaker Ali Ammar, center, and Lebanese Minister of State Parliamentary Affairs Mahmoud Qmati, right, on his arrival at Rafik Hariri Airport, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (AP)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Iran FM visits Lebanon, offers support for new government

  • Zarif spoke to reporters Sunday at Beirut’s airport shortly after his arrival in the Lebanese capital
  • Lebanon formed a new government last week headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri

BEIRUT: Iran’s foreign minister offered his country’s military assistance to the US-backed Lebanese army on Sunday, saying Iran is ready to cooperate in all sectors should the Lebanese government want it.
Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to reporters Sunday at Beirut’s airport shortly after his arrival in the Lebanese capital for a two-day official visit.
“We are always ready (to support Lebanon militarily) and we have announced that on many occasions. This tendency does exist in Iran, but we are waiting for this desire to be there on the Lebanese side,” he said.
The comments came a few days after the leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group urged Lebanon’s government to accept anti-aircraft weapons from Iran to confront Israeli warplanes. He also said Iran was ready to provide Lebanon with electricity and medicine.
The United States, which lists Hezbollah as an armed terrorist group, backs the Lebanese army through a program that aims to strengthen the military as the sole military force defending the country.
Lebanon formed a new government last week headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, after a nine-month vacuum that exacerbated the country’s economic woes. Hezbollah has three ministers in the new government, reflecting the gains made by the powerful group in parliament elections held in May last year. The group named the health minister, marking the first time it controls a ministry with a large budget.
Zarif was met at the airport by Hezbollah lawmakers. In his comments, he congratulated Lebanese politicians and said Iran is ready to support the government in any way possible.
Zarif is scheduled to meet with the Lebanese president, prime minister and foreign minister on Monday.


Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 26 March 2019
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Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Arab states on Monday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

The decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

Breaking decades of international consensus, Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.