Hariri sought mediation between Iran, S. Arabia, Velayati says

November 14, 2017

TEHRAN - Senior Iranian politician Ali Akbar Velayati said on Tuesday that Saad Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister on November 4, called for a mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia whose relations have nosedived in recent years.

Velayati and Hariri met on November 3 in Beirut. 

Hariri declared his resignation during a visit to Riyadh, claiming Iran’s interference in Arab countries’ affair for his resignation.
 
Velayati, the top advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and chairman of the Strategic Research Council of the Expediency Council, strongly refuted claims that he talked “tough” with Hariri in that meeting.

Velayati said, “Our ambassador to Lebanon also attended our meeting. There was no threats during the meeting. We discussed bilateral and regional relations and he [Hariri] called for mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia and I told him that we do not have any problem with negotiation, however, tell the Saudis that it has been three years that you are ‘devastating’ Yemen." 

“I told Mr. Hariri to tell the Saudis to stop committing humanitarian crimes in Yemen and hold talks with Yemenis because the problem can be solved politically and not through blind bombardment.”

‘Hariri resignation is an internal issue’

Velayati went on to say that Hariri’s resignation is an internal issue and expressed hope that Hariri would review his decision and remain in his job.

“Resignation of Mr. Hariri is an internal issue and we hope that he would return to Lebanon and the Lebanese people decide in this respect,” said Velayati who was Iran’s foreign minister from 1981 to 1997.

‘Iran and Lebanon are allies’

Velayati also praised relations between Iran and Lebanon. “Iran and Lebanon are brothers and allies and have strategic relations.” 

‘Saudi Arabia will fail to unsettle Lebanon’

The senior Iranian politician added Saudi Arabia has been interfering in regional countries’ affairs and been unsuccessfully seeking to disintegrate Iraq and Syria.

Saudi Arabia also seeks to create tension in Lebanon but will not succeed there either, he noted.  

In a television interview on Sunday, Hariri said he will return home in days to formally submit his resignation.

On Sunday, he again said the main problem for the region was “Iran interfering in Arab states.”

Many analysts and politicians believe that Hariri was forced to resign under pressure from al-Saud family.

NA/PA
 

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