France’s Macron warns Iran against ‘interference’ in Lebanon
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France’s Macron warns Iran against ‘interference’ in Lebanon

Speaking to Iranian president, French leader urges Tehran to ‘support the putting in place of a government which can manage the emergency’

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a Defense Council video-conference on Niger at the Fort de Bregancon, southern France on August 11, 2020. (Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a Defense Council video-conference on Niger at the Fort de Bregancon, southern France on August 11, 2020. (Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP)

PARIS, France — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday warned Iran against any interference in Lebanon after the gigantic blast last week that has prompted a political crisis in the country.

In telephone talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Macron emphasized the “necessity for all the powers concerned… to avoid any outside interference and to support the putting in place of a government which can manage the emergency,” the Elysee said.

Lebanon’s government under Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned this week following days of demonstrations demanding accountability over the explosion at the Beirut port last week that devastated entire neighborhoods of the city.

Iran wields huge influence in Lebanon through the Shiite terror group Hezbollah which was strongly represented in the outgoing government and has an alliance with the faction of President Michel Aoun.

A picture shows the destruction at Beirut’s port on August 10, 2020, following a huge chemical explosion that devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital and claimed over 150 lives. (JOSEPH EID / AFP)

The explosion, which left 171 people dead, has been blamed on a vast stock of ammonium nitrate allowed to rot for years at the port despite repeated warnings.

Macron, who was the first world leader to visit Beirut after the explosion, has taken the lead role in coordinating the international response and at the weekend chaired a virtual aid conference that drummed up more than 250 million euros ($295 million) in pledges.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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