Lebanon News

Iran’s new envoy to Lebanon told to uphold independence

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi in Beirut, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)

BEIRUT: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has tasked newly appointed envoys including Tehran’s incoming Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fathali with cultivating mutually beneficial relations that uphold each nation’s independence, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Fathali will replace Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, who will leave his post this summer, a source at the Iranian Embassy told The Daily Star.

Rouhani met Monday with Fathali along with five other newly appointed ambassadors to Kuwait, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Lithuania, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Iran’s Foreign Ministry website said.

Rouhani encouraged the newly appointed envoys to cultivate mutually beneficial relations with each of the countries to which they have been assigned.

“We want our relations with all countries, especially our neighbors, to expand. Many international issues now have no solution in the absence of cooperation and unity among countries,” Rouhani told the envoys, according to the ministry’s website.

“This cooperation will not conflict with the independence of these countries,” he added.

“Good Iranian relationships with all countries can be very helpful for this region’s development.”

Wishing the new envoys success in their upcoming missions, Rouhani asked the new ambassadors to use all of their capabilities to encourage investment projects in Iran, especially in the south of the Islamic Republic.

Fathali previously served as a Foreign Ministry economic adviser and Iran’s ambassador to Uzbekistan.

Lebanon’s Central News Agency said Fathali, a Middle East expert, would take over the post in July.

Local media said Roknabadi made farewell visits Tuesday to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, where the diplomat indirectly indicated his mission was over.

“I thanked the speaker for the efforts he put over the past four years during my mission in Lebanon in order to strengthen parliamentary cooperation between Lebanon and Iran,” Roknabadi said after the talks with Berri.

He also thanked the speaker for his support for the resistance.

On the presidential election, Roknabadi said Tehran supported the election of a president “in the best way possible.”

Iran, he stressed, would back any widely agreed-upon president.

“The atmosphere is promising, and the Lebanese are the decision-makers,” Roknabadi said, adding that he hoped a new head of state would be elected soon.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Ali Reza Enayati would become the new ambassador to Kuwait, while Reza Zabib would be appointed to Cyprus, Mohammad Ebrahim Taheriyan to Croatia, Ramin Mehmanparast to Poland and Lithuania, and Mehdi Hamzei to the OIC in Jeddah.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 21, 2014, on page 3.




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