Several March 14 leaders were outraged by the remarks of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who joined Hezbollah’s campaign against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) .
March 14 MP Ammar Houri on Tuesday told AFP:
“It seems that Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks aim to undermine calm in Lebanon and across the Arab world.”
Khamenei announced after a meeting with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani that any indictment handed down by a U.N.-backed court looking into the 2005 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will be “null and void.”
MP Jamal al-Jarrah another March 14 leader said:
“Khamenei’s statements signal (Iran’s) cover for certain local political positions … or at least for Hezbollah.”
Labor Minister Boutros Harb a key member of march 14 alliance said on Tuesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Monday statement about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was intended to obstruct current calls that seek to resolve the Lebanese impasse.
He told the Voice of Lebanon (VOL) that Khamenei’s statement was surprising, adding that the Iranian leader declared a position in order to bind Hezbollah with his view on the STL.
Zahle MP Joseph Maalouf another key member of the March 14 parliamentary bloc said on Tuesday.
“Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Monday statement about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an interference in Lebanon’s domestic affairs”
Maalouf told the Voice of Lebanon (VOL) that Khamenei’s remarks –that any STL decision is “null” –are timed with Saudi-Syrian efforts that are close to reaching a compromise regarding the Lebanese situation.
“ Khamenei’s statement is an attack against the international community.” Maalouf said
Even some members of the Change and Reform bloc criticized Khamenei’s remarks. MP Salim Salhab told MTV on Tuesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Monday statement about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is unacceptable.
The MP said that Khamenei’s statement is an interference in Lebanon’s domestic affairs, adding that the supreme leader’s remarks are a message to Lebanon and to the West.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri was diplomatic in rejecting Khamnei’s statement . He said during a joint press conference with his visiting Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov on Tuesday :
“We respect Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…and each has their own view.”
“ Khamenei’s position regarding the STL is that of Iran. We, as Lebanese government, also have our position on the issue .”
“We respect Khamenei and any part that has his same views,( in references to Hezbollah). This will not affect Saudi-Syrian talks to resolve Lebanese disputes, ” he added
“We are committed to domestic dialogue and to fostering stability in Lebanon , ” Harir said
As expected Hezbollah defended Khamnei’s stand. Hezbollah MP Walid Succarieh, told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published Tuesday:
“Khamenei’s statement is an Iranian letter that loudly says that violence in Lebanon would burn the entire region down.
“Iran wants to tell those who seek strife through the indictment: We won’t stand idle while the fire is burning our homes,” the MP said.
He slammed the tribunal for being created “to push the American-Israeli project forward in the region.”
“There is nothing weird” about Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Monday statement regarding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Minister of State Youssef Saadeh who represents the Marada Movement , a key ally of Hezbollah said on Tuesday.
Tension in Lebanon
Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, the Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.
Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Sunni Shitte strife
The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported earlier in the month that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said on November 18 that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.
On December 7 a leading Israeli Military Intelligence official expressed concerns that Hezbollah might seize control of Lebanese government institutions .
“Dozens will be killed when Hezbollah uses force and takes over government institutions,” senior Military Intelligence official Colonel Yossi Adler told the Knesset in ‘a possible scenario if Hezbollah is indicted by STL.’
March 8 politicians have called for the cabinet to task the Justice Council with investigating the so called false witnesses who reportedly gave unreliable testimonies to the international probe into the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri. However, March 14 politicians believe that the regular judiciary should handle the matter.
Chairman of the Judicial and Administration Parliamentary Committee MP Robert Ghanem during an interview with “Arab week” and “Magazine” on Thursday explained the issue of false witnesses :
“ Article 408 and some other articles of the Lebanese Penal Code define the false witness as the person who testifies to the judicial authorities and provides contradictory testimony , but the testimony before the security forces or law enforcement authorities ( not in front of a judge ) is considered a false testimony”.