Rouhani's Envoy Meets Lebanese Officials, Says Military Grant Ready if Lebanon Wants Itإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The special envoy of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Morteza Sarmadi, announced Wednesday from Beirut that Tehran's proposed military grant to Lebanon is still on the table, hoping the Lebanese will manage to find an “appropriate solution” to the presidential crisis.
“Now that the nuclear settlement has been achieved, if the Lebanese side believes that it can now receive the Iranian military grant to the valiant Lebanese army, we are fully ready to offer this donation on a silver platter,” said Sarmadi, in response to a reporter's question.
The Iranian official, who arrived in Lebanon earlier in the day, was speaking after talks with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil in Ashrafieh.
Discussions over the controversial Iranian grant to the Lebanese army were reportedly “frozen” in late 2014 to avoid any rift between cabinet members.
The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, who made a one-day visit to Beirut in 2014, said that Tehran will provide military assistance to Lebanon.
Iran's offer of support followed aid packages for the Lebanese army from both its regional rival Saudi Arabia and the United States.
As for the stalled presidential election, Sarmadi hoped Lebanese officials will be able to find an “appropriate solution” in the coming period.
“We're fully confident that the Lebanese political leaderships, movement and parties have enough maturity and awareness that qualify them to find the appropriate solutions to the presidential crisis,” added Sarmadi.
He also underlined that Tehran is “committed to its firm principled stance on noninterference in the domestic affairs of other countries,” while noting that his country “encourages the Lebanese to reach this appropriate solution.”
Earlier in the day, Sarmadi met with Speaker Nabih Berri after which he explained that the nuclear agreement reached last week is aimed at reaching a final one, expected before the end of June.
The talks also addressed regional developments, most notably the conflict in Yemen.
Sarmadi stressed the need to halt the Saudi-led military operation against Yemen's Huthi rebels, encouraging the concerned sides to launch dialogue.
He suggested holding dialogue in a neutral location with the participation of all Yemeni political factions to reach an agreement on a national government.
Sarmadi then headed to the Grand Serail for talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
The Iranian official said after the meeting: “A strategic mistake took place against Yemen.”
“The claim that the airstrikes are aimed at restoring legitimacy are not based on any international resolution,” he added.
The Iranian official is scheduled to visit the grave of slain top Hizbullah operative Imad Mughnieh in the evening.
An Nahar daily reported that Sarmadi will likely hold a meeting with party chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Diplomatic Iranian sources told al-Liwaa newspaper Wednesday that “his talks will not address Lebanese affairs, such as the presidential elections, because Tehran refuses to interfere in the internal matters of friendly countries.”
Al-Liwaa noted that Lebanon is the fifth stop of a tour Sarmadi is making to a number of countries, which included Turkey and Germany.