The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday rejected the possibility of disarming the Iran-backed and Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization or entering into negotiations over its ballistic missile program.
“Hezbollah must be armed to fight against the enemy of the Lebanese nation which is Israel. Naturally they should have the best weapons to protect Lebanon’s security. This issue is nonnegotiable,” Ali Jafari told Iranian media, in quotes carried by Reuters.
Jafari also dismissed suggestions Iran would rein in its missile testing, referring to recent comments by French officials against its burgeoning program.
“Iran will not negotiate its defensive program… there will be no talks about it,” he added, calling French President Emmanuel Macron “young and inexperienced.”
According to Reuters, Jafari also said Iran would play an active role in implementing the ceasefire deal in Syria.
Israel has expressed concern over a growing military presence by Tehran just across its border. Israeli jets have carried out numerous strikes in Syria and Lebanon over the past year to thwart weapons transfers to Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Muslim world to fight “cancerous tumor” Israel.
“Today, the issue of Palestine is the primary issue among the Muslim world, since it has been an Islamic country usurped and turned into a means of sabotaging the security of several countries in the region,” he tweeted. “This cancerous tumor [Zionist regime] should be fought against.”
Today, the issue of Palestine is the primary issue among the Muslim world, since it has been an Islamic country usurped and turned into a means of sabotaging the security of several countries in the region. This cancerous tumor [Zionist regime] should be fought against.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 23, 2017
Both spoke as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Beirut and pushed off his resignation in a surprise move. Hariri had announced he would step down on November 4, from Saudi Arabia, citing fears for his life and the growing influence of Hezbollah and its patron, Iran.
Upon his return, Hariri stressed his support for a return to Lebanon’s official policy of “disassociation” from “the wars, outside conflicts, and regional disputes” — a pointed statement meant for Hezbollah.