Zarif: ‘No foreign party should impose dictations on Lebanon’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed on Friday that no foreign party should impose dictations on Lebanon.

This came in a press conference that Zarif held at the Lebanese Foreign Ministry headquarters in Beirut with his counterpart in the Lebanese caretaker government, Charbel Wehbe.

“No foreign party should exploit the tragic situation and the necessary needs of Lebanon, and dictate its impositions with its interests and orientations,” asserted Zarif.

He added that his country: “Believes that Lebanon with its government and nation is qualified to take the crucial decisions regarding its future, and the choices it wants to follow in the coming stage, including the issue of forming the new government.”

Zarif confirmed that his country’s government and Iranian companies: “Are ready to open up and cooperate with Lebanon in the fields of health, medicine, electricity, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and all vital fields during this stage.”

Read: World must not play politics with Lebanon’s pain, Iran says

On 4 August, the Lebanese capital witnessed a bloody catastrophe due to a huge explosion in the Port of Beirut, resulting in many deaths and injuries and extensive material damage, estimated at $15 billion, according to preliminary official figures.

The explosion forced Hassan Diab’s government to resign, after it replaced Saad Hariri’s government on 11 February, as it was forced by popular protests raising economic and political demands to resign, on 29 October.

Wehbe announced: “In our meeting with Zarif, we reviewed the possibilities of support and assistance that may be provided by Iran, and we will receive these offers for the competent authorities to study and take the appropriate decision regarding them.”

He added: “We also reviewed the excellent bilateral relations between our two countries and peoples, and the situation in the Middle East as a result of recent developments.”

Read: Lebanon parliament passes emergency law, empowers army

Zarif’s visit coincides with that of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Hale, who is conducting discussions regarding the demarcation of the maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel.

According to preliminary investigations, the Beirut explosion occurred in Ward 12 of the port, which the authorities disclosed contained about 2,750 tonnes of highly-explosive ammonium nitrate stored since 2014.

The port explosion deepened the country’s severe existing crisis, amid a sharp political polarisation, in a scene where regional and international parties overlap.