Tehran Wants Hariri to Remain Lebanon’s PM
TEHRAN – Iran said that it hoped Saad al-Hariri would remain as Lebanon’s prime minister and denied that he had resigned after a tense meeting with an adviser to the Iranian supreme leader in Beirut.
Hariri resigned abruptly on November 4 while in Saudi Arabia. He had flown to Riyadh the previous day following a meeting in Beirut with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Velayati, dismissed as false claims made by Lebanon’s resigned Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri about their recent meeting in the Arab country.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Tuesday, Velayati pointed to his meeting with Hariri in Beirut one day before his shock resignation and said despite Hariri’s claims, the talks were not “tough, violent or involving threats”.
“Mr. Hariri said that during the meeting he had with me, he called on (Iran) not to interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon,” Velayati said, adding that Hariri did not make such remarks at all.
It became clear that his remarks have been made under the influence of Saudis, who are not willing to see Lebanon in peace, having friendly relations with Iran, the top official said. Velayati also said that in the meeting, Hariri tried to play the role of a mediator between Tehran and Riyadh. He expressed the hope that Hariri would return to his post soon. Velayati stated that Hariri had asked to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding “I told him that we have no problem with negotiations, but I asked him to tell Saudis that they have been destroying Yemen for three years and do not allow the delivery of food and medicine to the war-affected people.”
He went on to add, “I asked Mr. Hariri to tell Saudis to stop committing crimes against humanity in Yemen, because this has nothing to do with politics. They have to hold dialogs with the Yemenis, because this issue can only be settled through a political solution not blind airstrikes.”
“I also told Mr. Hariri that we welcome the unity among various political parties in Lebanon, and the country’s security owes a lot to Islamic resistance and the well-informed Lebanese people,” Velayati added.