Iran hopes Lebanon can facilitate arms transfer

BEIRUT: Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Fathali said Saturday that Tehran never wanted to embarrass Lebanon with the recent offer of aid to the Army, expressing hope that the government could overcome obstacles to facilitate the arms transfer.

“We want to develop ties in a way that does not embarrass the Lebanese government. We thought it was our duty to stand by Lebanon in these tough circumstances,” Fathali told reporters after meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh.

“We demonstrated our good intentions with this grant, and we hope that the Lebanese government can overcome all legal obstacles that they are talking about and that are preventing this grant from going through.”

Fathali, however, declined to comment when asked if Iran’s proposal to assist the Lebanese Army had sped up the Saudi grant to the military that was stalled for several months.

Defense Minister Samir Moqbel visited Iran last month and discussed the grant from Tehran and is expected to present a proposal to the Cabinet.

Several ministers have raised concerns that the arms transfer would be a violation of U.N. sanctions on Iran, and some media reports have said that Western diplomats have pressured Lebanon to reject the offer.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747 states that “Iran shall not supply, sell, or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related material, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals.”

Hezbollah and other March 8 coalition politicians have urged the government to accept what Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has described as “unconditional” and only met the demands of the military.
By The Daily Star


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