Hariri blasts Iran’s Soleimani over interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs


hariri, cnbcLebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri slammed  a top Iranian general for comments he reportedly recently made  in which he praised Iran-backed groups for making gains in last month’s parliamentary elections.

Lebanese media aired a video posted on social media showing Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite fighting Quds Force, saying that “Hezbollah has won 74 out of parliament’s 128 seats, ”   at a time when some Arab countries labeled it and its leaders as terrorists.

Soleimani also accused Saudi Arabia of paying $200 million in support of certain Lebanese parties during the elections.

Hariri told reporters later Monday that the comments are “regrettable,” adding that interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs is “not in their (Iran’s) interest, nor those of Lebanon or the region.”

Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a division of the Quds Force,  a special unit of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations.

Qassem Soleimani is one of the most prominent and influential military figures in Iran today. He is involved in Iranian military activity in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus states, and is considered one of the people closest to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.