Press TV – Iran has rejected as “provocative, meddlesome, and undiplomatic” the latest remarks made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.
In a statement on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi pointed to Pompeo’s comments against Hezbollah, and lashed out at him for making such “rude and unwise” remarks and raising “baseless, false, hackneyed, and futile” claims and accusations against a major political and legal part of Lebanon while he was visiting the Arab country.
In his recent trip to Beirut, Pompeo expressed concern over the role of Hezbollah in the Arab country, saying that the Lebanese nation must pick a side.
“Lebanon and the Lebanese people face a choice: bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future,” he said during a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil on Friday.
Bassil, however, rejected Pompeo’s comments, saying that “Hezbollah is a Lebanese party, not a terrorist group, and it enjoys a wide popular base.”
In his Sunday comments, Qassemi said Hezbollah enjoys the popular backing of the majority of the Lebanese nation, and holds major seats in the country’s government and parliament.
Qassemi said Tehran “totally understands the US’ outrage over the praiseworthy performance and role of the resistance forces, the Hezbollah, and the wise people of the region, and all those who foiled the US’ new colonialist and ominous plots in the region.”
Such remarks and stances stem from the failure of Washington’s destructive policies in the region, the Iranian spokesperson said.
They also “indicate the dissatisfaction and excessive outrage of the irrational rulers of the US over the popular solidarity and unity in Lebanon and the restoration of calm and stability in the Arab state, especially after the formation of its government,” he added.
Qassemi pointed to Washington’s long-lasting policy of intimidating regional governments, and said, “Now that it has failed to realize its ominous goals in the sensitive region of the Middle East, the US is resorting to the worn-out, hackneyed, and outdated trick of intimidating and threatening others in a bid to impose its hegemonic policies and behavior.”
To do that, Washington not only tries to create a rift among other countries, but also levels groundless accusations against others, he added.
“While respecting the government and nation of Lebanon and the independent will of the country, Iran stresses that it will tap into all its capacities in order to promote solidarity and unity in Lebanon, and to reinforce bilateral ties with the country in issues that are in the interest of the Iranian and Lebanese people,” Qassemi said.
Washington claims that the Lebanese resistance movement condones terrorism despite the fact that Hezbollah has been involved in a fierce fight against Takfiri terror groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.
Hezbollah has also supported the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-sponsored terrorists, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since March 2011.
However, Washington has for long accused Hezbollah of being behind the 1983 bombing attack, in which 241 US Marines were killed.
In October, the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a new round of sanctions on the movement, targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.
The sanctions legislation Trump signed is known as the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act 2018.
Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s following the Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon. The movement waged a long resistance campaign against Israeli forces and pushed them out of southern Lebanon in May 2000. Since then, the group has grown into a powerful military force. Israel also suffered a humiliating defeat from Hezbollah in the 2006 war.
Since its inception in 1985, the Lebanese resistance movement has been a thorn in the side of Israel and its foreign backers, including the United States.