Lebanon News

March 14: Iran sought to set up forward base

BEIRUT: The March 14 Secretariat General described Wednesday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Lebanon as an attempt to set up an Iranian forward base against Israel on the shores of the Mediterranean.

In a statement, the secretariat said Ahmadinejad had arrogated the right to incorporate Lebanon into “the axis of resistance and defiance led by Iran.”

“He also envisioned Lebanon as the front line of the Islamic resistance to liberate Palestine and [redraw the map of the region] as well as vanquish global arrogance,” it said.

“His visit resembled an inspection tour of an Iranian forward base on the Mediterranean,” the statement added.

March 14 activists added that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun sought through his latest statements against Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s financial policies to divert attention away from the Iranian president’s visit by provoking a “fictitious battle under the pretext of reform.”

The attendees called on Aoun, “who positions himself above corruption while accusing others of it,” to lift secrecy from his bank accounts and those of his family.”

But Aoun’s ally Hizbullah hailed Ahmadinejad’s visit as supportive of Lebanon’s right to resist Israeli aggression and praised his “call to promote unity and understanding among the Lebanese.”

A statement released following a meeting of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc slammed the US for seeking to provoke strife among the Lebanese under the pretext of promoting “what is being publicized as international justice.”

The comments were made in reference to a visit Sunday by US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to Lebanon to reiterate the US support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating former Premier Rafik Hariri’s murder.

Hizbullah has condemned the UN-backed court as an Israeli project aimed against the resistance in Lebanon, saying the impending STL indictment was already fabricated and is set to implicate Hizbullah members.

The statement added that “regional and Lebanese contacts were ongoing in a bid to ease tensions raised due to the unjust campaign against the resistance through fabricated accusations.”

The past few days have seen Saudi-Syrian talks and inter-Lebanese contacts to reach a compromise between the March 14 coalition and Hizbullah over the disputed issue of the STL.

“The bloc stresses the need to assume national responsibility in confronting and rejecting attempts against the resistance,” the statement said.

However, progress has yet to be made with regard to the STL-related controversies, particularly the issue of false witnesses as Hizbullah, and its allies insist on referring the case of witnesses to the Justice Council.

“The normal path for arriving at the truth and preventing tensions among the Lebanese is to refer the issue of false witnesses to the Justice Council to uncover those who stood behind them and funded them,” the statement said.

Hizbullah MPs described UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s report on the implementation of Resolution 1559 as biased toward Israel and supportive of Israel’s state “terrorism.”

“The report demonstrated bias toward Israel’s terrorism and its violation of international resolutions, and campaigned against the resistance and Hizbullah in a bid to camouflage the racist nature of Zionists threatening Lebanon as well as the region’s stability,” it added.





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