Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Lebanon In Show Of Support For New Hizbullah-backed Government
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pledged support for the new Hizbullah-dominated Lebanese government at the beginning of a two-day trip to Beirut. The visit comes on the heels of a call by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah for authorities to accept anti-aircraft weapons from Tehran, and after Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon warned that U.S. policies vis-a-vis Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy could spark a regional war with Israel. Lebanon recently formed a new government following nine months of political gridlock largely caused by a demand that Hizbullah, which won major gains in last May’s elections, be granted a larger role in the cabinet. The organization and its allies ultimately were given control over three ministries, including the health and finance portfolios, raising American concerns the Islamic Republic’s Shiite underling will divert state funds to terror purposes. Zarif was slated to meet with Lebanon’s president, a Hizbullah supporter, and Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose father Rafik, a former Lebanese premier as well, was murdered by Hizbullah operatives in 2005 at the behest of the Syrian regime which also takes its orders from Tehran.