Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday warned that the presence of foreign warships on Lebanon’s coast represents “a threat to the Lebanese people and its resistance ( meaning, Hezbollah) .”
“The presence of foreign warships on Lebanon’s coast is not normal and it is a threat to the Lebanese people and its resistance,” Zarif, who is on a visit to Lebanon, told al-Mayadeen television in response to a question about the issue.
He did not elaborate why these ships the French and British warships that have recently docked in Lebanon as part of the aid and rescue efforts would be a threat to Hezbollah and Lebanon.
“The deployment of HMS Enterprise complements an immediate package of military and civilian support. As part of the strong relationship between both our armies, the UK has offered enhanced support to the Lebanese Armed Forces, who are central to the Government of Lebanon’s response, including tailored medical help, strategic air transport assistance, and engineering and communications support,” Lt. Gen. Sir John Lorimer, the UK Defense Senior Adviser Middle East and North Africa, said during a visit to Beirut on Monday.
And on Friday, the Lebanese Army said French helicopter carrier PHA Tonnerre had docked at Beirut’s port, carrying a French army engineering unit, engineering vehicles and necessary equipment to remove debris from Beirut port. It was also carrying medical and food aid, construction material and two vehicles donated to the Lebanese Civil Defense, the army said.
In his interview with the pro- Hezbollah TV station al-Mayadeen Zarif claimed that Iran does not endorse any specific candidate to lead the new Lebanese government.
“We will cooperate with any nominee that the Lebanese would agree on,” he claimed .
“We will choose what the Lebanese will choose, Lebanon’s security is our security and we will cooperate with any government selected by the Lebanese people,” Zarif added.
“I reassured Lebanese officials that Iran is ready to help and not to impose anything on Lebanon,” he went on to say.
Zarif also said that the investigation into the Beirut port explosion should be Lebanese and should be directed by the Lebanese government.
Met with Hezbollah chief
As in every visit to Lebanon , Zarif met Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and he told al Mayadeen that the meeting focused on Iranian aid to Lebanon as well as regional and international developments. As usual neither the location of their meeting nor the time were disclosed
In a Friday Televised address Nasrallah commented on the Beirut port explosion by saying the Lebanese state and people should have a say in any response should the investigation into the Beirut port blast prove that Israel was behind it.
“Until now, nothing proves that there was an airstrike through a warplane or a drone,” Nasrallah added, while noting that an act of sabotage on the ground cannot be ruled out.
“The investigation should be continued and answers should be offered to the Lebanese people,” Nasrallah said.
“If the investigation determines that Israel is involved, the Lebanese state and people should have a say in the issue,” he added.
“As far as Hezbollah is concerned , our party cannot remain silent over a crime of this magnitude and Israel will pay a price of the magnitude,” Nasrallah added.
Reiterating that Hezbollah does not trust any international investigation he warned that “an FBI investigation would absolve Israel of any responsibility.
He claimed that there was “an attempt to topple the state in the very first hours after the blast,” alleging that “political forces and media outlets exploited people’s pain to target not only Hezbollah but his ally President Michel Aoun.”
Nasrallah called for the formation of “a strong, capable and politically protected cabinet,” stressing that “talk of a neutral government is a waste of time” and claimed that “there are no independents in Lebanon.”
Like Nasrallah president Aoun also rejected the idea of an international investigation calling such a move a waste of time.
On the other hand all the Lebanese opposition leaders called for an international investigation , knowing that the Judicial system in Lebanon is corrupt and the result of the investigation will be a whitewash . According to analysts the Lebanese investigation will conclude that a low level employee dropped the ball , he or she will be arrested and will be subsequently freed by the politician that got him/her hired in the first place.