October 8, 2021
Iran’s Foreign Minister in Beirut on Thursday met with officials of Palestinian groups and pledged Tehran’s support for resistance against the “Zionist enemy”.
Two of the most prominent Palestinians in the meeting were the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah, and senior Hamas member Osama Hamdan.
In his meeting with representatives of Palestinian groups at the Iranian embassy in Beirut,foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he had stressed in a meeting with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York during the annual UN General Assembly summit that the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people will continue to support the “resistance and Palestine until the liberation of all historical Palestinian lands and liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
He also described the “battle of Seif Al-Quds” (Sword of Jerusalem) — clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli Police in May – as an extremely significant event. “These operations undercut the plan for normalization of [diplomatic] relations [between Arab countries and] the Zionist regime.
Islamic Republic’s support to militant groups in the region goes back to its establishment in 1979, when Iranian revolutionaries were quick to establish ties with various Palestinian and non-Palestinian militants. In the recent decade, with Iran’s full involvement in the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars, Iran’s policy of interference in regional countries has emerged, with Western governments demanding that Tehran change course.
Amir-Abdollahian had also met with leaders of Palestinian groups in Damascus on August 30 during his second regional trip after his appointment as foreign minister. These included Talal Naji, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Khalid Abdal Majid, secretary-general of the Palestinian Popular Front, Abu Saeed Al-Maniawi, senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official, and officials of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian National Liberation Movement. “If it were not for the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the victories of the resistance axis in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen would not have been realized today,” Naji told reporters after the meeting.
The Iranian foreign minister on Thursday held a flurry of separate meeting with top Lebanese officials including President Michel Aoun, a key ally of the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the recently appointed Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib. On Thursday he also visited the Supreme Islamic Shia Council of Lebanon where he met with the family of the late Musa al-Sadr, the Iranian-born Lebanese scholar and political leader who founded the Amal Movement in 1974.
In a news conference after his meeting with Lebanese officials Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian said if asked by the Lebanese government, Iran would be willing to participate in the rebuilding of the port of Beirut which was destroyed in a massive explosion in August 2020 as well as two power plants, one in Beirut and another one in south Lebanon within a year and a half.
On Wednesday dozens of Lebanese citizens rallied in Beirut ahead of the Iranian foreign minister’s visit to protest what they said is Iran’s growing influence in Lebanon.