Shiite cleric urges stripping Hezbollah leader of his Lebanese citizenship over allegiance to Iran

Sayed Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini
Sayed Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini

Prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric  Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini  urged Lebanon to strip Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah of his citizenship over his “clear collaboration” and allegiance to Iran.

In an interview last week on Al-Arabiya, he called for revoking Nasrallah’s  citizenship for reportedly saying Iran’s doctrine of Guardianship of the Jurist — which grants Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with supreme political power — is above Lebanon’s constitution.

“What the Iranian regime conceals with its [methods] of political dissimulation has been exposed today by Nasrallah through his slips of the tongue. These declarations have harmed the Lebanese state, constitution, and law,” said Husseini, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute which translated Nasrallah’s statements  as reported by Iran’s Farda News Agency.

“This is clear collaboration of a Lebanese with a foreign country. Therefore, just like the proper action taken by Bahrain, when it revoked the citizenship of Iran’s collaborators, who were involved in tarnishing the image of Bahrain, I call upon the State of Lebanon to revoke citizenship of Hassan Nasrallah,” Husseini  added.

Additionally, Husseini accused  Iran of undermining  Arab countries and of  sowing  discord in the Middle East.

“What is happening today in our nation – and I have said this in over a thousand interviews and statements – is that Persian Iran is genuinely endeavoring to shatter our Arab nation to smithereens. Iran wants to divide and infiltrate our nation. Iran is lying in wait for our nation,” he said.

“We started to have a problem in Lebanon when Iran founded Hezbollah, making it and its members guns for hire, fighting here and there in Lebanon, making threats against the UAE, Kuwait, and Yemen, and striking in Saudi Arabia,” Husseini added.

He also accused Iran and “Nasrallah’s followers” of endangering Shiite Islam, which although followed by a majority of Iranians has a significantly smaller following in the Muslim world than Sunni Islam.

Husseini  is  well known to be strongly against Iran’s influence in Lebanon .

Husseini  is the Secretary-General of the Arab Islamic Council.

Last August he praised Iraqi  Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE stressing that the visit was aimed   at  improving  relations between the Shiites and the Arab countries.

In an interview with Emirates News last August , Husseini predicted “the construction of a new axis between Arab Shiites and the Gulf states to break the relationship between the Arab Shiites and the regime in Iran”.

We welcome the positive steps taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE by receiving Muqtada al-Sadr, and we consider them to be the basis for a new phase filled with hope and optimism, he said.

In response to a question on the possibility of a real change in Iranian policy, he said:

“The behavior of the Iranian regime does not change, either in the era of conservatives or reformists, because it is based on the violation of human rights and the suppression and brutal repression of dissidents, as in the Ahwaz area,” he added in a possible reference to the Ahwazi Arabs .

Ahwazi Arabs have been mistreated and persecuted in Iran,  since the Iranian Revolution of 1979

Ahwazi Arabs are the  Arab community in Iran which resides mostly in the resource rich Khuzestan Province in southern Iran, bordering Iraq. This area is known as Ahwaz by the Arab community, and the capital of Khuzestan is Ahvaz. Ahwazi Arabs are the largest Arab community residing in Iran.

Hezbollah denies

Hezbollah  denied Farda News’ report quoting the party’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah as saying that the guardianship of the Islamic jurist (Vilayat-e Faqih) is above the Lebanese constitution and it’s mandatory to implement its orders.

Vilayat-e Faqih is a theory in Shiite Islam which holds that Islam gives a custodianship over people. The theory forms the basis of Iran’s constitution.

In the speech, Nasrallah declared that his organization is wholly committed to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and that the commitment to Khamenei trumps the organization’s commitment to the Lebanese constitution. This speech, which was not initially publicized in Lebanese or Arab media outlets, encountered scathing critiques from Hezbollah’s opponents in Lebanon

Farda News Agency, which is close to the fundamentalist movement that supports Iran’s Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei, apologized for the report and blamed its correspondent for the “mistake.”

Despite denying the report, many Lebanese people shared old videos of Nasrallah in which expressed his hope   that Lebanon becomes part of the “Greater Islamic Republic.”

Nasrallah has repeatedly said that his party is willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the guardianship of the Islamic jurist and confirmed that Hezbollah is an extension of Iran’s project.

He had also acknowledged that the party’s money and weapons come from Iran.

 In January, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said Hezbollah receives between $700 million and $800 million from Iran each year.