Hariri visits Islamic Republic

The Pro-US Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, accompanied by seven of his cabinet ministers – arrived on his first visit to the Islamic Republic on a two-day visit on November 27, 2010. At Tehran airport Hariri was received by Iran’s vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi.

During his stay, Sa’ad Hariri is scheduled to have talks with President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other high-ranking government officials. He could be paying a visit to Qum to meet Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran.

A month ago, Iranian President visited Lebanon where he was welcomed as a national hero.

Hariri’s visit comes amid a tense political stand-off between Hariri’s pro-Western camp and the Islamic resistance, Hizbullah (Hariri’s partner in his Unity government) over a UN tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of his father, former premier Rafiq Hariri.

The tribunal is expected to implicate high-ranking Hezbollah officials in the murder, prompting fears of sectarian conflict between Hariri’s Sunni supporters and the Shiite Hizbullah.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has a natural role in the region, especially in resolving crisis and strengthening stability in Lebanon,” Hariri told the press on his arrival in Tehran.

A Lebanese ministerial source said that Hariri hoped Iran would help to reconcile the rival pro-Western camp and Hezbollah.

Earlier this week – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a two-visit to Lebanon. Addressing a conference organised by the Union of Arab Banks, he warned the Zionist regime: “Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?”

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