Iran has urged political factions in Lebanon to speed up the presidential elections, distancing itself from its proxy, Hezbollah.
In spite of Iran’s historic interference in Lebanese politics through its backing of the terror group, the regime’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said: "We will support any agreement that is reached among the Lebanese parties regarding the election of the president.”
Since former president Michel Aoun's term expired on 31 October, there has been no agreement on who shall succeed him.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah party has supported the nomination of Suleiman Franjieh to be president. Franjieh comes from a noble Lebanese family, and his grandfather was president when Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war erupted.
In a sidestepping of the regime’s political influence in the country where the economy is on its knees, he said: “We call on foreign countries to support the decision made by the Lebanese without interfering with its affairs."
The distance coming between the regime and Hezbollah, listed as a terror group in countries including the US, UK, Germany, the Arab League and Israel, may be a result of Iran’s recent detente with Saudi Arabia, which had been a vocal supporter of the Arab League’s listing of the group in 2017.
Saudi has also been involved in an eight-year war with another of Iran's proxies, the Houthis, in Yemen.
According to sources quoted in Al-Jumhuriya newspaper, Amir-Abdollahian may ask Tehran's allies in Lebanon to end their support for Suleiman Franjieh's presidential bid because "protecting the renewed relationship with Riyadh has the priority”.
After talks mediated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore relations back in March.