By Tony Francis
March 31, 2021
As part of his latest comments on Lebanese affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, former deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs in Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and current special aide to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, stated that “the approach that the United States, France and Saudi Arabia are following is based on the absence of a strong government” in Lebanon. He then added, in a new interpretation that could perhaps be included in the long-awaited ministerial statement, that “the trifecta of the resistance, the army and the Lebanese government is the main winner” when it comes to the positions taken by the three countries.
The people are no longer a part of the golden Iranian trifecta and have been replaced by the “required” government, and it seems that Iran has lost its trust in the Lebanese people ever since it accused them of colluding with foreign embassies against the axis of resistance following the October 17 events.
Abdollahian, who completely removed the Lebanese people from his new equation, was quick to define the Lebanese situation and to determine the limits of what is permitted and prohibited in the country. The man, as we mentioned, is an expert on Arab affairs and does not miss a thing. He expresses his opinions on every occasion and measures things based on whether or not they fall in line with the interests of the Iranian regime.
Last September, he described the situation in Lebanon by saying that “enemies” were driving the people toward “hunger and limiting the influx of dollars and hard currency to blame the people’s suffering on Hezbollah. This is the same economic pressure policy they sought to implement against Iran and Syria. Over the coming months, Syria will be holding its presidential elections and they will try, through maximum pressure, to achieve what they could not achieve during the nine years of war. But we are certain that this path will not bring success to the Americans, neither in Lebanon nor in Syria or Iran.”
A while back, on the day of the Beirut explosion, the same Arab Affairs expert was all too eager to declare that “it is not unlikely that the Zionist entity played a role in this explosion,” explaining that the “United States is the first to benefit and the Zionist entity the second.” However, the central analysis was not in the favour of Iran’s allies in Lebanon, who deemed it better not to accuse the United States or Israel to avoid any complications that may result from embracing this accusation.
Abdollahian’s statements, along with the positions taken by other Iranian officials, uncover the details of Iranian political investments in Lebanon and how Iran leverages them, as it does the Syrian regime, as a “red line” playing card. For Iran, there is no corrupt system or corrupt politicians in Lebanon. There is no economic crisis, and no suffocating living conditions. The State is not drowning in a sea of indecision. There is only a Western conspiracy against Iran and its resistance. Should the Lebanese people mobilize to demand their rights to a better system and a State that protects their history and interests, they will simply be removed from the narrative, and replaced by a government whose sole agenda is to combat Iran’s enemies.
This is the message Abdollahian wanted to convey. Any Lebanese who interprets the message differently is just another pawn in Iran’s game.