Iran parliament speaker says Israel ‘a threat to humanity’

Marking 17th anniversary of IDF pullout from southern Lebanon, Ali Larijani urges Palestinians to follow Hezbollah’s lead and ‘liberate’ lands

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Monday called “racist” Israel a threat to the region and “humanity.”

In a message congratulating Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on the 17th anniversary of Israel’s pullout from south Lebanon, Larijani said “the aggressive and racist nature of the Zionist regime has always been and will remain a threat to humanity and to regional nations,” according to Iranian media reports.

Referring to Israel’s 2000 pullout after 15 years of conflict with Hezbollah, Larijani urged the Palestinians to follow the Lebanon terror group’s lead and “liberate” territories from Israel.

“The multiple victories of the Islamic resistance against the Zionist regime clearly demonstrate that the lofty aspirations… for the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories can be achieved only through harmony, solidarity and resistance,” he said.

Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon began on May 23, 2000, ending 18 years of presence in the country since the start of the First Lebanon War in 1982. The pullout was completed over two days.

Hezbollah, established in 1985 with the backing of Iran, led Lebanese efforts to attack and drive Israelis from Lebanon. The IDF lost over 550 soldiers in fighting the terror group.

Hezbollah deputy secretary general Naim Qassem (photo credit: AP/Grace Kassab)
Hezbollah deputy secretary general Naim Qassem (photo credit: AP/Grace Kassab)

The comments came amid a report that Iran has agreed in principle to renew its funding for the Gaza-based Hamas terror group. The deal to restore Hamas’s financial support came after marathon meetings in Lebanon between officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hamas, and Hezbollah, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat report said.

A day earlier, Iran dismissed US President Donald Trump’s allegations that it was a major sponsor of terrorism as “incorrect and irrelevant.”

Trump, during his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, accused Tehran of spearheading global terror. Along with Saudi King Salman he called for the Islamic Republic to be shunned.

“From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region,” Trump said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed the accusations during a press briefing.

“These improper, incorrect and irrelevant positions of certain countries are nothing new and they try to project the blame on others and such remarks are unbelievable and unacceptable,” he said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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