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Iran’s Leader Attends Rally At Israeli Border

Posted by Zand-Bon on Oct 14th, 2010 and filed under INTERNATIONAL NEWS FOCUS, News, Photos, Video, video gallery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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By Dominic Waghorn, Middle East correspondent, in Bint Jbeil


October 14, 2010

Iran’s president has addressed thousands of Hezbollah supporters at a rally close to the Israeli border with Lebanon, as he continued his controversial visit to the country.

Speaking in Bint Jbeil, the scene of fighting between Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas in the war of 2006, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised what he called Lebanon’s resistance against Israel.

“The world should know the Zionists are mortal … today the Lebanese nation is alive and is a role model for the regional nations,” he said at the rally in the town, which is 2.5 miles from the border.

He added: “I announce that Bint Jbeil is alive and is standing. The world should know that Bint Jbeil is proud and will stand against the enemies till the end.

“They (the enemies) have no way but surrender to the nations and go back to their first homes… Palestine will… be freed.”

Mr Ahmadinejad headed to the border with Israel on a provocative excursion directly defying America’s efforts to isolate his regime’s influence in the Middle East.

Thousands at the rally waved Lebanese, Iranian and Hezbollah flags

Thousands at the rally waved Lebanese, Iranian and Hezbollah flags

On he issued a not-so-veiled threat to Israel saying Iran would stand with Beirut against Zionist aggression.

America has criticised the visit as provocative.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned against any efforts to destabilise or inflame tensions in Lebanon.

The visit comes as a new political crisis looms over an international tribunal’s investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal is expected to indict senior members of Hezbollah, raising fears of renewed violence between the Shia militant organisation and the pro western March 14 coalition led by Hariri’s son and current prime minister Saad Hariri.

Fares Souaid, secretary general of the March 14 coalition, told Sky News Mr Ahmadinejad is acting like the commander in chief of a private army on Lebanese soil.

He said: “He’ll be there in the south like a general who wants to visit the soldiers, wants to visit the front and say, ‘My people are here, my military structure is here represented by Hezbollah’.”

Ahmadinejad waves before speaking to his supporters in Beirut

Ahmadinejad waves before speaking to his supporters in Beirut

To some Lebanese, such as the thousands of Shia who turned out to welcome him, Mr Ahmadinejad is a hero who stood alongside them during their hour of need in the war with Israel.

To others, he is a deeply worrying interference from outside.

Like Fares Souaid, they fear his tough stance with Israel comes at the expense of the Lebanese.

Mr Souaid said: “The presence of Ahmadinejad in the south 100 metres from the Lebanese border is to say indirectly the two superpowers who don’t want to reach peace are here face to face and they can decide what is the future of this country.”

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