Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia had implored Israel to bomb Lebanon, in what he scornfully said was an unprecedented act by a Muslim country.
“It is very reprehensible and shameful for a Muslim country in the region to beg the Zionist regime (Israel) to bomb the people of Lebanon,” Rouhani said, backing up an assertion made last week by the head of terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy that seeks to destroy Israel.
“It is unprecedented in history for a Muslim country to take such measures, and this indicates the immaturity of the individuals, who have come to power in those countries,” Rouhani continued, during a government meeting, Iran’s Press TV reported.
Last Friday Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of asking Israel to launch strikes on Lebanon amid ongoing tension between Riyadh and Tehran.
“The most dangerous thing is inciting Israel to strike Lebanon,” he said in a televised address. “I’m talking about information that Saudi Arabia has asked Israel to strike Lebanon.”
Israel and Hezbollah most recently fought a devastating war in 2006.
Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been intensifying its confrontation with Shiite power Iran. The two camps support rival sides in countries across the region, as well as in the wars in Yemen and Syria. Tensions rapidly increased with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri earlier this month during a visit to Saudi Arabia.
Israel has stressed that it does not seek war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, but has launched multiple airstrikes to prevent advanced weaponry from reaching the Iran-inspired group, the most powerful military force in Lebanon.
Hariri’s situation is not completely clear and calls, including from his Lebanese political rivals, have mounted for Saudi Arabia to guarantee the prime minister’s freedom of movement.
The 47-year-old announced his resignation on November 4 in a surprise move that coincided with a sweeping purge in the Saudi kingdom’s elite, ostensibly over embezzlement accusations. He condemned Hezbollah and Iran and said his life was in danger.
Hariri, who was born in Saudi Arabia, did not say when he would return to Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun has yet to formally accept his resignation.