Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ended his two-day visit to Lebanon on Thursday. Prior to departing from Lebanon Ahmadinejad met Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Thursday evening at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.
Reaction to Ahmadinejad’s visit was mixed but as expected March 14 leaders do not share the enthusiasm of Hezbollah led March 8 alliance.
March 14 MP Oqab Saqr, one of the most outspoken Shiite leaders in the majority alliance said on Friday that he is still awaiting an honest response from Hezbollah to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements stressing the importance of consensus.
Saqr told MTV: “Iran’s allies should implement his statements on the internal scene because we are facing real danger and the Saudi Arabian ambassador had previously informed the Iranian president that destroying unity would serve Israel.”
“We support Ahmadinejad’s statements, but we wonder why Hezbollah has not yet commented on them,” the Saqr added.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches were rational and his visit to Lebanon was “accompanied by a positive atmosphere,” Democratic Gathering bloc MP Antoine Saad said on Friday, according to a statement from his office. The bloc is headed by MP Walid Jumblatt who has been trying to act as a centrist, since his departure last year from the March 14 alliance.
“The meetings that were held during Ahmadinejad’s visit broke the political ice between leaders,” Saad said.
Saad does not share the same opinion as Jumblatt about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon: “No Lebanese party can stop the STL, nor the government because no one has any interest in collapsing the government.” Jumblatt on the other hand wants the STL abolished.
During his yesterday’s meeting with visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, Jumblatt called on Iran to continue to maintain contacts with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to help resolve the tension in Lebanon.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement about the “wiping out of Israel puts Lebanon in a religious project that has not been embraced by the Arab states,” Lebanese Forces bloc MP Antoine Zahra told Al-Arabiya on Friday.
The stances Ahmadinejad took “stop domestic dialogue over the defensive strategy and the Resistance’s weapons, and firmly established religious confrontation with Israel and the West,” Zahra added.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit “turned Lebanon into an arena of confrontation between non-Arab regional powers” and his “fiery speeches from Lebanese platforms” gave Israel new pretexts for attacking the country, the National Bloc party said in a statement on Friday.
“Lebanon and its people will pay in blood and tears” as a result of this struggle, the statement added.
National Liberal Party
If Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was honest he would have asked the Iranians to “stop using Lebanon as an arena for regional struggles” and pursued the wish of the Lebanese majority for a sovereign and comprehensive state, the National Liberal Party (NLP) said in a statement on Friday.
Some of Ahmadinejad’s statements and actions exceeded the bounds of a state visit, particularly the “role played by Hezbollah,” the NLP’s statement said.
The statement also called on the Hezbollah and Iranian leaderships to read closely the open letter published in the Lebanese press that describes “in broad strokes a road map for Lebanese-Iranian relations.”
This in reference to the open letter that published in Wednesday’s edition of An-Nahar newspaper. Around 250 politicians, activists, and journalists expressed fear that Ahmadinejad’s visit might interfere with “Lebanese affairs and cause one group to prevail over another” and called on him to “convince the Resistance to enter the bosom of the state.”
Change and Reform
Change and Reform bloc (CR) MP Abbas Hashem told New TV on Friday that the phone call made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz was highly ethical.
“Ahmadinejad reassured the Arabs by the phone call he made to the Saudi king,” Hashem said, adding that he is optimistic regarding future Lebanese domestic developments.
CR is headed by MP Michel Aoun, a close ally of the Iranian backed Hezbollah group.
In a statement issued Friday, Hezbollah bloc MP Hussein Moussawi thanked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his visit to Lebanon and stressed the “importance of loyalty to those who helped us in times of trial.”
Iran’s only political project for the region is Arab-Islamic unity in order to confront the danger of the “Israeli entity supported by the US,” Moussawi added.
The independent An-Nahar newspaper reported on Friday that the talks held by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Beirut this week “broke the ice” regarding Lebanese disputes that include the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).