Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian traveled to Beirut to meet with senior Lebanese officials and political figures such as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah Friday.
Hezbollah said in a statement that Nasrallah and Amir-Abdollahian discussed Israel’s new, hardline government and regional developments.
He also held a meeting with Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah during his trip to Lebanon on Friday. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, and Australia.
During a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib, Amir-Abdollahian said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has been and will remain Lebanon’s friend in hard times.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue supporting the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and Palestine,” he said, noting, “We consider Lebanon’s security as Iran’s and region’s security.”
For Iran’s clerical regime Lebanon means a country dominated by Hezbollah and a base from where to threaten Israel. Many Shiites see Iran as a source of financial support, but others among Christians and Sunnis resent Hezbollah and Iran’s influence.
Nevertheless, Amir-Abdollahian insisted that “Iran does not interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon.”
Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Beirut that he met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during a conference in Jordan last month, noting that talks between Tehran and Riyadh are continuing and could eventually restore diplomatic relations severed since 2016. Saudi Arabia has not confirmed Iran’s claims of continuing talks.
“There was an agreement in our points of view to continue with the Saudi-Iran dialogue in what would eventually normalize relations between the two countries,” Amir-Abdollahian said about the December meeting in Jordan.