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Tehran not discussing Lebanon presidency with Riyadh: official

Iran's Deputy Minister for Arab and Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian attends a news conference in Moscow, September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

BEIRUT: Iran and Saudi Arabia were not discussing the presidential election in Lebanon, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister said Monday.

Hussein Amir-Abdollahian denied in a TV interview reports that the two regional powers were holding any meetings to examine the issue of the presidential election or to agree on a consensus presidential candidate.

Former President Michel Sleiman’s six-year term ended last month, and Parliament has so far failed five times at electing a new president.

Saudi Arabia and Iran back the rival March 14 and March 8 groups respectively, but the former invited Iran’s foreign minister to visit Riyadh last month, hinting at the possibility of a thaw between the two regional powers.

Rapprochement between the two countries would have ramifications across the Middle East, potentially cooling political and military struggles especially in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

A Lebanese national unity government was formed in February after a 10-month stalemate, with many giving credit to a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. – The Daily Star

 

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