Ex-ambassador: Iran can potentially play stronger role in Lebanon’s national solidarity

Tehran, Jan 13, IRNA – Former Iranian ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Ali Sobhani said Iran could play a more active role in enhancing national solidarity in Lebanon by contacting different groups in that country.

Speaking to IRNA about the ongoing visit to Lebanon of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Sobhani stressed that the two countries enjoyed a much higher capacity for boosting the existing status of bilateral relations.

Referring to the harsh political and security situations in Lebanon and Syria, he described Zarif’s visit to Beirut as important saying that the foreign minister has to offer new plans and schemes to promote iran’s role to stop growing disputes and violence in Lebanon.

Iran’s foreign minister arrived in Beirut late Sunday at the top of a political and parliamentary delegation on the first leg of his regional tour of four countries. He is in Beirut upon an invitation by his Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour.

Zarif is also to visit Iraq, Jordan and Syria after his visit to Lebanon.

Sobhani said he believed the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon and deepening political gap among Lebanese groups have rooted from the critical conditions in Syria.

He said Iran should play stronger role in dealing with the existing crisis in Lebanon through dialogue with regional countries as well as various Lebanese groups.

The former ambassador further expressed his opinion that Iran should try expand relations with all Lebanese groups.

Commenting on the arrest and suspicious death of Majid Al-Majid the terrorist behind the fatal blasts near the Iranian embassy in Beirut on November 19, 2013, Sobhani said the incident proved how serious is the danger of extremism in the region.

He said that extremism and terrorism could be fought and beaten by cooperation among governments and their firm intention.

Some 25 people including Iran's Cultural Attaché to Lebanon Ebrahim Ansari were killed by the fatal bombings and over 150 others were injured.

Majid al-Majid who had claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack was captured and then died in Lebanon.

While in Beirut, Zarif is to hold separate meeting with President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Tamam Salam and also confer with the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berry and a number of other Lebanese officials and personalities.

Bilateral relations, regional and international cooperation, the Syrian crisis and the Geneva II International Peace Conference are among the topics to be discussed during the meetings.