Hezbollah leader accuses outgoing PM of dragging Lebanon into regional conflicts

Hezbollah leader accuses outgoing PM of dragging Lebanon into regional conflicts
# 10 April 2011 00:21 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah accused outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri of implicating Lebanon into regional conflicts, in reference to recent tensions between Iran and Gulf countries, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"This is not how Iran should be treated," the chief of Lebanon’ s Shiite armed group said during a televised speech. "If someone is upset with us because we collapsed his government, (he) should leave the Iranians alone."

Hariri’s 14-month-old government of national unity collapsed Jan. 12 after 11 ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and its allies quit following a dispute over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is probing the assassination of Hariri’s father Lebanese Sunni Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

A war of words had erupted between Hariri and Hezbollah this week after the outgoing prime minister accused Hezbollah’s ally Iran of "flagrant interference" in the internal affairs of Lebanon and Arab Gulf states.

Hariri, an ally of Saudi Arabia, vowed not to let Lebanon become hostage to Iranian influence, saying Tehran’s policy in the region was no longer acceptable. Hariri’s speech drew a quick response from Hezbollah, which accused him of serving the U.S. policy in the region.

Nasrallah said his party was proud with its alliance with Iran.

"We are proud of our alliance with Iran and Syria and have nothing to hide," he said. "When a state that has supported Lebanon is attacked, we cannot remain silent."

Nasrallah said Hariri accused Iran of standing behind problems in the Arab world, and completely overlooked Israel’s role in fueling tension.

"If it were not for Iran’s support following the 2006 July War, a lot of houses would not have been rebuilt," said the Hezbollah head, in reference to the 34-day war between his group and Israel in Lebanon.

Hezbollah and Hariri have been caught in a standoff in recent months over the UN-backed STL.

The court is widely expected to issue an indictment implicating Hezbollah members, but the party denies involvement and has launched a campaign to discredit the STL, which the group describes as an "Israeli project" to sow strife in Lebanon.

In response to Hezbollah’s campaign against the court, Hariri launched a campaign to disarm the powerful group, arguing that Hezbollah used its arsenal to intimidate the Lebanese and impose its political will.
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