BEIRUT: Mohammad Fathali, the new Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, said upon arrival in Beirut Wednesday that he considered Lebanon a friendly country.
He arrived to a warm welcome from political, religious and party officials, as well as Lebanon-based representatives from the Palestinian factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“I believe I came to a brotherly country,” Fathali told reporters at Beirut's airport.
“I carry a strong and kind message from Iranian officials.”
“ Lebanon is playing an outstanding role at the regional level and a huge role in general,” he said.
Fathali also hailed Lebanon for standing “rock hard against Zionists’ greed.”
“I’m looking forward for greater cooperation between Lebanon and Iran and, God willing, I will seek to build bridges of cooperation among the various Lebanese political parties,” he stressed.
Fathali will replace Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi.
Fathali, a Middle East expert, had served as a Foreign Ministry economic adviser and Iran’s ambassador to Uzbekistan.He met with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to present his credentials.
Roknabadi made farewell visits Tuesday to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Bassil, where he indirectly indicated his mission was over.