Iran offers to mediate between Lebanese rivals

May 10, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iran on Friday blamed the U.S. and Israel’s “adventurous interventions” for Lebanon’s volatile situation and announced Tehran’s readiness to help broker a deal between rival political factions.

According to reports, at least 11 people have been killed in clashes in Beirut after a third day of battles between opposition supporters and those loyal to the government.
""Adventurous efforts and interference by the United States and the Zionist regime are the main cause of the continuous chaotic situation in Lebanon,"" Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini stated.
“Unfortunately part of the political plot which was predicted and of which (Iran) had already warned (the Lebanese) has been executed. We hope that those who had a share in creating this situation will exert the effort required to restore peace and stability to the country,” he added.
Hosseini urged Lebanese political factions to remain vigil about “vengeful” plots hatched to undermine the country’s independence, reiterating Iran’s offer to help the rivals agree on a consensus president.
The Zionist regime is seeking to target Lebanon’s national unity in response to its defeat in the 33-day war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, said the spokesman.
Expressing regret over the unpleasant situation in Lebanon, Hosseini said, “Unfailing efforts by the Islamic Republic of Iran for brokering understanding between different political groups in that country have not been accompanied with the help of other countries.”
The Lebanese showdown was triggered by a dispute over Hezbollah's telephone network, with the government declaring the network illegal earlier this week.
But Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah insisted that the network ""is a regular telephone network"" that allows the party's leadership to remain in touch without being monitored by Israelis.
The showdown hit the streets on Wednesday when a general strike to protest rising prices swiftly turned into a confrontation between supporters of rival factions.
Declaration of war
Hezbollah's leader said a Lebanese government decision to declare the group's telecommunications network illegal amounts to a declaration of war.
""The decision is tantamount to a declaration of war ... on the resistance and its weapons in the interest of America and Israel,"" Hassan Nasrallah said in a news conference aired live on television Thursday.
Arabs call for urgent meeting on Lebanon crisis
Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia led calls on Friday for an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers to try to end the crisis in Lebanon as scores of foreigners fled the fighting in Beirut.
Hezbollah supporters seized control of predominantly Muslim west Beirut from pro-government forces on Friday, the third day of sectarian violence that threatened to tip the country into all-out civil war.
As fighting eased by early afternoon, troops and police moved across areas now in the hands of Shiite opposition forces who routed Sunni militants loyal to the Western-backed government.
""The kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports holding an urgent and extraordinary meeting of the Arab League ministerial council in Cairo to discuss the Lebanese crisis and its fallout,"" a foreign ministry official was quoted by the state SPA news agency as saying.
A Saudi official told AFP that Riyadh is in contact with Egypt and other Arab countries to coordinate moves and had agreed with Cairo on calling for the conference.
That call was backed by Jordan and Kuwait.
""Egypt and other Arab countries are very concerned by the actions of Hezbollah in Lebanon,"" an Egyptian diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
""The situation today in Lebanon is 10 times worse than it was yesterday and we are very concerned at what is happening, because that means that Iran wants to control the country,"" the diplomat added.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa cut short a trip to the United States and returned to Cairo to join efforts to try to resolve the conflict. An Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said a special meeting could be held in two days.
And the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference said its secretary general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, is in contact with Lebanese leaders in a bid to help halt the violence.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the political crisis in Lebanon was an ""internal matter"" and called for it to be resolved through dialogue