President Ahmadinejad: Iran and Lebanon are two parts of the same body

By Haaretz Service and Agencies


Shvat 29, 5767

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Lebanon and Hezbollah have his complete support in their struggle against Israel and the United States.

"Iran and Lebanon are two parts of the same body, and only through cooperation between our two nations will it be possible to foil the conspiracies of the enemy," Ahmadinejad said.

"Thanks to Hezbollah, the Lebanese people have become a symbol of courage, faith and respect for all nations, and all this through the power of resistance," Ahmadinejad added.

Syrian President Bashar Assad arrived in Iran on Saturday. Assad is scheduled to meet with Ahmadinejad to discuss developments in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Lebanon.

On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his organization is entitled to secretly transfer arms in order to fight Israel, and that he will not forgive the Lebanese Army for seizing last week an arms-laden truck that belonged to Hezbollah.

Nasrallah said "we have plenty of weapons ... and we have the right to transport our arms to combat Israel."

Nasrallah said the arms transfers are carried out in secret in order "to hide them from the Israeli enemy."

The Hezbollah chief added that his group has no intention of disarming, and intends to maintain its forces in southern Lebanon. "The resistance will always stand by the Lebanese Army in southern Lebanon, with our weapons, men and blood... to defend Lebanon," he said.

Hezbollah is "ready to give the army all the arms it needs," but will not forgive anyone who confiscates even a single bullet, Nasrallah added.

Nasrallah was speaking at a Beirut rally marking the anniversary of the assassination of his predecessor, Sheik Abbas Musawi, who was killed in 1992 in an Israeli strike.

Last week, the Lebanese Army confiscated a truck that was full of Hezbollah weapons.

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said during a televised interview that the arms shipment was comprised of rockets, but staunchly denied allegations that the shipment came from Syria, saying it originated from within Lebanese territory.

The Shi'ite organization announced that the truck belongs to it, and demanded that the Lebanese Army release it immediately.

The incident heightened tensions between Lebanon's government and Hezbollah, which has called for its overthrow.

Nasrallah, vowed on Friday to continue the opposition campaign led by his militant group to force Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to share power or step down, saying he was confident of eventual triumph, claiming the militants had the resources for it.

"No one should imagine that the opposition's coffers have emptied," he said. "If the (demands) are not met, the opposition will continue its actions by means which it finds appropriate."

However, Nasrallah insisted his Sh'ite Muslim followers would not incite a conflict that could degenerate into a civil war. Saniora is backed by the country's Sunnis.

"Civil war is a red line," Nasrallah said, an expression he also used last month after scuffles between pro- and anti-government supporters turned into Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian clashes that killed eight people.