Controversial Iranian Grant to Army Reaches Standstill, Delay Expected

The Defense Ministry hasn't yet delivered to the cabinet's secretariat the report on Defense Minister Samir Moqbel's recent visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Tuesday, the report will include details on the controversial Iranian grant to the Lebanese army, which will decide its fate.

The daily reported that the government's stance from the grant is expected to be delayed.

Moqbel traveled to Iran last month and met senior officials, who expressed Iran's readiness to transfer its military experience in order to improve security in Lebanon and the region, and to combat terrorists.

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for the Arab and African Affairs Hussein Amir Abdul-Lahian said on Monday that his country's aid to the Lebanese army came in light of the developments in the region.

“We understand the pressure exerted on Lebanese officials by some countries to reject this grant... but we stress that we are only aiding the Lebanese military and boosting its defenses to combat terrorism,” Abdul-Lahian said in a statement published in media outlets.

Iran's offer of support follows aid packages for the Lebanese army from both its regional rival Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It comes as the Lebanese army is cracking down on gunmen in the northern coastal city of Tripoli after deadly gunbattles, and in light of battles with jihadists from al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group, who are entrenched on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border.



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