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Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed via a video link the participants at a ceremony held by the Jihad al-Binaa developmental institution by saying:

“I want to talk about three subjects: the million tree campaign, the upcoming visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon, and the present developments in our country and region, especially those related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), its indictment and false witnesses.”

million tree campaign

Nasrallah briefly came out of hiding on Friday to plant a tree as part of his party’s campaign to encourage the Lebanese to go green. Nasrallah, who was last seen in public in July 2008, was shown on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station emerging from hiding to plant a tree

“We must tackle the forestation issue as a national concern, that’s why we coordinated with the agriculture ministry and municipalities”, he said

He added : “We single out [for praise] here the holy fighters of the Resistance who planted trees in some places in the Bekaa and the South.”

He added: “The nuclear threat is a danger to humanity, but it is a threat [that is] under control. However, the natural catastrophes resulting from climate change are a dangerous threat [that is] out of control.”

He continued :” Green is part of Lebanon’s essence, as freedom is of the essence of Lebanon. If freedom is taken away, Lebanon becomes something else… and the same with the green nature. Therefore all of us are responsible to preserve [nature].

he added: “The tree is part of Lebanon’s national security. Lebanon needs this tree and protects it so that it protects Lebanon.”

Nasrallah accused Israel of burning many Lebanese trees during its occupation of Lebanon

“After the liberation in 2000, I and al-Hajj Imad Mughniyeh took a tour from Naqoura to the Shebaa Farms. It was clear to us that the occupied regions of Palestine ( present day Israel) were full of forests and trees while the Lebanese side was not.”

Ahmadinejad

Nasrallah said the following about the up coming visit by Iranian the President to Lebanon

” The Iranian President [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] comes to Lebanon as the president of Iran and as a representative of the Islamic revolution….. The Islamic Republic since the revolution’s victory took a decisive and advanced stance in support of the Arab people in confrontation with Israel. ”

He added: The ( Iranian) revolution erased Israel’s most oppressive ally in the region – the regime of the Shah ( of Iran) that existed in Iran – [and we] say thank you to the Iranian people and Imam al-Khomeini. ”

He praised former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad’s ‘strategic vision’ in supporting the Islamic revolution in Iran

He added : “Iran was not stingy in its support of the resistance movements, especially in Lebanon and Palestine. During President Ahmadinejad’s term dangerous events occurred, and I think that his presence in the presidency helped greatly in presenting greater support to the resistance movements, especially during the [2006] July War.

Nasrallah said Iran did not want anything in return for their support

He added: “In all the stages that followed the Israeli wars against Lebanon, Iran gave aid immediately. After the July War in particular, I spoke with the Iranian brothers and said to them, we hope that you help us financially- “frankly, we need money.” [We did this] because when the war ended, we had a program that we did not want to be bogged down in bureaucracy, in spite of the fact that some were saying that the money had to come in an official way. [If that approach had been taken] the fate of the aid [would have been] the same as that of the generous help from Saudi Arabia- that is, if we assume good intentions.”

Nasrallah is referring to the fact that all the Iranian aid came either directly to Hezbollah or through Syria but never through Lebanese institutions or banks

he added : “In fact, President Ahmadinejad responded generously. What was accomplished after the July War has no equal anywhere in the world. Usually after a war everyone stays in schools as refugees, but in Lebanon, after the first days following the war’s end, people were helped to rent apartments and furniture. In the first and second years [after the war’s end] we contracted to build your houses, and we are still paying [aid] to families whose houses have not been built. These funds are not from charitable donations- they are from Iran.”

He added: “The aid to people was carried out through a simple mechanism that I will call “the Hezbollahi mechanism,” because if we had waited for the state’s mechanism nothing would have happened. There are people still waiting today for the state’s compensations. We launched the “Promise” project then came the “Iranian Committee” that achieved great things. In the field of guaranteeing housing to families, there were nearly 20,000 [housing] units completely destroyed, around 129,000 in need of repair, and around 34,000 families that needed aid.”

He added: ” It is therefore incumbent on us to show hospitality to the Iranian president and deal well with this matter. Iran, in spite of the international pressure and sanctions from which it is suffering, wants to participate in projects that include the provision of weapons to the Lebanese army.”

He added : I want to assure the Lebanese of something: Iran will not impose conditions against its aid, but if the Lebanese government does not want Iran’s aid to the army then there is no problem and no call for anger- given that some theorize that Iran wants, through this, to place its foot in Lebanon.

He concluded : “President Ahmadinejad is Lebanese President Michel Suleiman’s guest and we have to be hospitable in welcoming him.”

Nasrallah criticized Lebanon stance at the UN Security council over the sanctions.

The UN Security Council last June passed Resolution 1929, which aimed to persuade Tehran to curb its suspect nuclear program by widening military and financial sanctions. The Resolution passed 12- 2. Lebanon abstained from the vote, while Turkey and Brazil voted against it.

Nasrallah said :” Iran said nothing , but actually understood our position. This moral behavior must be met with moral behavior.:

Reception for Ahmadinejad:

Nasrallah described the plans for welcoming the Iranian president :

“We and the Amal Movement called for a popular reception on the airport road and there will be a festival on the first day of Ahmadinejad’s visit at Al-Raya Stadium. President Ahmadinejad wants to go to the South, although he does not want to throw stones- they invented that and made a story out of it. He is not going to throw a stone- if he wanted to, he could throw more than a stone.

Nasrallah’s statement today contradicts the actual situation regarding the Iranian aid according to observers . Nasrallah promised during the early stages of the 2006 war that ‘Halal’ money from Iran will be forthcoming for rebuilding what will be destroyed during the war with Israel, but what actually happened was totally different . Saudi, US and Arabian Gulf money had to be used instead since Iran never fulfilled all its promises made to Nasrallah.

STL

He then addressed the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

” In spite of all the disputes that happened in the cabinet, we stayed. I met [Prime Minister] Saad Hariri and it was a good meeting. At the end he told me about the indictment that would be issued in October [from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)] which will accuse members of Hezbollah. We did not talk [about it] at the time, and we said that we will handle it. However, after Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi came out and opened dark horizons, frankly we decided to undertake a preemptive operation against the dangers the Americans and Israelis are preparing for Lebanon, so we brought up the issue in public.”

He added: “We entered into discussion and quarrel, and [here] I will try to reorganize the discussion so that the central issue is not missed. All of us want calm, we want the truth and justice. However, we want the real truth, not counterfeit. We want justice built on that real truth, not on oppression. The way to this justice is via that [real] truth, not via oppression- not [the way things] happened with the four officers and Syria.”

He added: “I ask the Lebanese for calm, and let us stop the theatrics: Does the international investigation in its various stages reach truth and justice? This is a human question, and has no relation to sects or politics. Does this investigation, through the tools and methods [it uses], arrive at the truth? The discussion is not about whether we want the truth- no, all of us want the truth, because the truth I assume is that an accused Israel will change the course of affairs.”

He added: “The experience is bitter, and we all suffered. What Prime Minister Saad Hariri said to As-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper is good. There are people who still do not admit the existence of false witnesses, but no one need fear the opening of this file and its expansion, since it serves the truth. There are people whom the international investigation accepted and based its reports on, while leaking information about them. There are people who based their statements on mistaken information and analysis. Let us open this file.”

He added: “Why does [STL Prosecutor Daniel] Bellemare insist on not releasing any documents? Why is the UN compelled to interfere and prevent Bellemare from surrendering documents? Now they are covering up the scandal, so they say that it did not intervene, but [merely] presented advice. Why then this protection for false witnesses? Today there is a new headline [addressing] the protection of [false witnesses] by Bellemare and the STL- not [just] the domestic protection of false witnesses. Why? This is a great question to which no one has an answer.”

He added:” We said come, let us address the false witnesses file in the cabinet. They delegated Justice Minister [Ibrahim Najjar]. Then it became obvious that there was procrastination, and Speaker Nabih Berri’s step came as a positive shock. This matter must be settled without any procrastination or hesitation. The Amal Movement ministers’ stance is that of all the opposition ministers. After the file is transferred to the judiciary, we must follow up in order that there not be any procrastination in the judiciary, especially given that there are those who say that we cannot try false witnesses before the indictment is issued.”

He added: ” I presented information and Bellemare said that he wants more. Let us suppose that there is not more, or that I do not want to give it to him . Does what I presented not suffice to open a path or a new step in the direction of Israel? They are saying that the indictment will come out in December and that time is tight, while no step has been taken yet regarding the information we presented, neither by the international judiciary nor by the Lebanese judiciary. This performance offers no sign that the international investigation will lead to the truth. Rather, we have evidence and indicators that the investigation is not politicized, but is political dressed up as judicial. What is wanted today is evidence that this judiciary is serious.”

He added: “As for the witnesses for the indictment, what is the guarantee that there are not false witnesses among them? The STL’s system is based on witness protection. I do not know, but everyone talking about this knows that Bellemare will depend on circumstantial evidence- that is, telecom evidence: the existence of simultaneous calls by Hezbollah individuals and others who supposedly carried out the assassination- and he considers [this] sufficient to bring an indictment. But is this enough? Who says that this is not fabricated, that the data has not been manipulated? Is evidence that the Americans or Israelis could manipulate really dependable in a case of this importance? In the coming days there will be a press conference held to reveal amazing things about the telecom subject. We will not bring down the walls on anyone, but we will present logic and technical evidence. We are not the ones who politicize.”

he added: “Matters are still bound by the Syrian-Saudi understanding and no one can say that these efforts have ended. However, there is a mistake some make when they say come, let us address the possible fallout of the indictment- this is a faulty strategy. Rather, we must say come, let us prevent the aggression against the Resistance via the indictment, and stop the American-Israeli attempt to detract from the Resistance. Who knows whether we will be able to control the fallout of the indictment, since the matter might overcome our ability to contain it ? Therefore we must not run away and say that Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria want to implement a coup- this is vacuous talk, since we are not thinking about that. If we wanted to take over, we would have done it in 2005, but we do not want that and did not do it. Likewise, we would have taken over the country in 15 August 2006 if we had wanted that. So this talk has no basis- stop it, and do not go into side matters. Return to the foundational issue.”

He concluded: “The fundamental issue is this: How do we prevent the attempted aggression against the Resistance via the indictment? Of course America does not want it prevented , and there may be some Arabs who do not want this either. Unfortunately there are Lebanese who do not want that- they know who they are. Do we surrender? Or do we confront this and cooperate- Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Arab states, and any friend- in order to know how to repel this danger that only serves Israel? Whoever believes that he will benefit [from this aggression] is suspect. The only winner from the issuance of this kind of indictment is Israel and those who support it, give it aircraft, and pressure the Palestinians and Arabs.”

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