AFP: Lebanon’s top Sunni cleric Thursday condemned what he described as Shiite Iran’s “blatant intervention” in Lebanese affairs and urged an end to foreign pressure on his country. CAIRO, Dec 21, 2006 (AFP) – Lebanon’s top Sunni cleric Thursday condemned what he described as Shiite Iran’s “blatant intervention” in Lebanese affairs and urged an end to foreign pressure on his country.
“I tell you honestly that Khamenei’s comments claiming that Lebanon will be the defeat point of the United States are a blatant case of intervention in Lebanese affairs,” Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani told reporters.
The cleric, who met Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on his second day in Cairo, was referring to comments made a month ago in which Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted Lebanon would “be the defeat point for Israel and America.”
The Shiite regime’s top cleric made the remark during a visit by Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who also heads one of the country’s main Shiite parties.
Lebanon has been bitterly divided since Shiite ministers resigned from the national unity government last month, sparking anti-government demonstrations spearheaded by Hezbollah that have raised the spectre of civil war.
“How would Iran react if an Arab country proclaimed that Tehran would witness the defeat of such and such a superpower?”, said Qabbani, who has defended the embattled government led by Sunni premier Fuad Siniora.
“Lebanon and its people should be left alone, free of any foreign pressure,” he said.
The government accuses Hezbollah of being backed by Iran and Syria, while the Shiite opposition charges that Fuad Siniora’s cabinet is propped up by Washington.