Iran's Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani addresses a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, on Feb. 17, 2020. (Bilal Jawich/Xinhua via Getty Images)

An Open Plea to Mr. Larijani

Nida Al-Watan, Lebanon, February 19

To the Iranian Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ali Larijani: Thank you for your decision to visit Lebanon, but I wish you would have relieved us of your stay, which brings nothing but headache and agony to our people. The Lebanese government is at the height of its struggle with the Trump Administration, and the complexities of the region pose great danger to the future of the Lebanese state. Our standards of living are steadily declining, our relations with the world – and with our Arab brethren in particular – have become strained, and our financial crisis continues to unfold. All of this has happened since you and the government you represent began attaching us to your “axis.” The truth is that we are ashamed of your government, which, under the banner of resistance, kills thousands of innocent civilians. Mr. Larijani, the very political structure that your country represents is the one the Lebanese people have been revolting against in the past few months. You proudly claim that Beirut is one of four Arab capitals aligned with Tehran, but the truth is that Beirut – just like Damascus, Baghdad and Sanaa – is simply held hostage by your regime. Just take a look at the wars, financial upheavals, health crises and food shortages that plague the countries your country has associated itself with. Do you realize how expensive the price you have us pay has become? Mr. Larijani, let me remind you of what the Lebanese want from you: They want to ensure stable and peaceful relations with your country. They want regional peace. But they certainly don’t want to be your proxy. Lebanon is a sovereign state, and your country’s relations with it must be respectful of this fact. We understand the complexities of these bilateral relations and do not seek to simplify the situation. But the truth of the matter is that your reckless policies have contributed to our national catastrophe and prevented us from establishing a normal state with one army, one foreign policy and one judicial system under which all citizens are equal. Do you want to help us? Be our guest. But the greatest help you can offer us is to fight your country’s battles away from our borders, without dragging us into wars that we have neither an interest nor a desire to fight. – Bechara Charbel (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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