Sunday, April 24, 2005

Iran gives Lebanon civil war warning, accuses U.S. of creating crisis

Al Jazeera:
Meeting with visiting leader of the Lebanon Socialist Progressive Party, Walid Jumblatt on Sunday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned that Lebanon was “vulnerable” and risked civil war, the ISNA news agency reported.

The possibility exists of an aggravation of divisions which could transform into a civil war,” Khatami was quoted as telling Jumblatt. READ MORE

Khatami said that the upcoming Lebanese elections “must not lead to differences between the influential groups”, and also warned that “instability in Syria would be a catastrophe for the region and have harmful effects on Lebanon.”

Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi accused the United States of creating crisis in Lebanon, saying that the Lebanese people are capable of solving their own problems, the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

"The Americans are trying to create crisis in Lebanon and take advantage of critical situation there, while Lebanon's problems should be solved by its own people," IRNA quoted Kharrazi as saying during a meeting with Walid Jumblatt.

The Iranian FM also expressed Iran's support for Lebanon's national unity.

"We always support unity among Lebanese groups and will continue this policy," Kharrazi said.

Commenting on the political situation in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt, from the Druze sect, said that "we must consider Lebanon's developments carefully in order not to be caught in colonial nets."

Jumblatt praised as "effective and positive" Iran's role in the Middle East.

"Iran has always had an effective and positive role in regional and international dialogue and we hope that the consultations with Islamic Republic of Iran leads to constructive outcome, he said.

Also on Sunday, Iran denied reports saying that it has military forces in Lebanon, affirming it has nothing to hide in its relations with the country.