Iran FM: Opening of Lebanese-Israeli Front in Hezbollah’s Hands

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
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Iran FM: Opening of Lebanese-Israeli Front in Hezbollah’s Hands

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the opening of the Lebanese-Israeli front, in the event of continued Israeli aggression, was in the hands of Hezbollah.

Despite his assertion that Lebanon’s security is “important to everyone and to Iran,” the Iranian official warned that “it was possible to imagine the opening of a new front in a way that suits the circumstances.”

Speaking on Saturday during a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Abdollahian said: “During my meetings with some of the leaders of the resistance in Beirut, I found that the resistance is in a very excellent situation and is fully prepared to respond to the criminal actions of the Zionist entity.”

He added: “The resistance has the energy and high capabilities to respond to the war crimes of the Zionist entity and the continued siege of Gaza.”

According to the FM, a political opportunity is available to prevent the war from expanding, but he warned: “Perhaps, in the coming hours, it will be too late.”

In light of the high number of casualties in Gaza, Abdollahian announced that his country “proposed holding an urgent meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” stressing that Lebanon’s “security is important for everyone and for Iran.”

Iran’s top diplomat spoke about an agreement between his country and Saudi Arabia over the war on Gaza.

“A few days ago, a telephone call was held for the first time between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. These discussions took place in light of the new atmosphere of good relations between Tehran and Riyadh,” Abdollahian told reporters in Beirut.

He stressed that the two sides “agree to support Palestine and condemn the war crimes committed by the Zionist entity,” adding: “The majority of leaders of the countries of the region and Arab states currently agree that Al-Aqsa Storm operations came as a spontaneous response to some of the crimes and extremism committed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Experts, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat, noted that Abdollahian’s strong rhetoric contradicted the facts on the ground.

Dr. Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Near East and Gulf Foundation for Military Analysis (INEGMA), said the situation in South Lebanon is limited to clashes and operations, stressing that both parties did not want a major escalation on the front.

He noted that Hezbollah sought to “keep Israel on alert over the possibility of opening the northern front, which has made it mobilize half of its army in the north instead of deploying it on the front with Gaza.”



Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
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Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi revealed the details of how he was prevented from assuming the post of PM after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

In a detailed account to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said then US Vice President Joe Biden had requested that he assume the post of president - which is reserved for Sunnis - and to work on persuading the Sunnis to accept this proposal. Biden said he would work on persuading the Kurds.

Allawi was responding to a three-part interview Asharq Al-Awsat held with Iraqi politician Fakhri Karim during which he spoke at length about the political process in Iraq in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

Karim acknowledged that he made a grave error when he opted for Nouri al-Maliki remaining in his position as PM even though Allawi had won the parliamentary majority.

Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Biden proposed to him that he assume the position of president.

“Biden visited me after we won the elections in 2010. He requested that we talk in another room. He was accompanied by Llyod Austin, current Defense Secretary and then commander of the US forces in Iraq, then American Ambassador James Jeffrey and then State Department official Antony Blinken, who is now Secretary of State,” he revealed.

Biden proposed that Allawi become president to which he replied that he would be faced by “two major hurdles”: the Sunnis and the Kurds.

He also cited a third hurdle, the Iraqi people, “who had entrusted me to become head of government.”

Allawi then revealed that prominent Sunni figures, such as former Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Saleh al-Matlaq and former parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi had agreed to him becoming president.

“They agreed even though Biden informed them [the Sunnis] that they will get nothing in the state. They replied that this doesn’t matter,” recalled Allawi.

Allawi agreed Karim about the circumstances that led to ISIS’ takeover of swathes of Iraq and with his account of events related to attempts to withdraw confidence from former PM Maliki.

Karim had told Asharq Al-Awsat that Maliki did not heed Masoud Barzani’s warnings about the movement of extremists near Mosul city, which eventually led to ISIS’ takeover.