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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian began his visit to Lebanon by meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the Presidential Palace in Baabda.
The Iranian minister, who had arrived in Beirut late on Wednesday night, coming from the Russian capital, Moscow, met Aoun on Thursday morning, and left Baabda Palace without making any statements.
For his part, Aoun affirmed, “Lebanon’s support for the efforts being made to enhance rapprochement between the countries of the region,” according to the official National News Agency.
The minister held a press conference at the airport, during which he said that his country supports Lebanon with full force, and affirmed “the Islamic Republic’s confidence that Lebanon will be able to overcome all the difficulties it is experiencing, and the brotherly Lebanese people have overcome all the difficult stages they have gone through.” He added: “Iran will not skimp on anything in the field of helping Lebanon.”
The Iranian minister is scheduled to meet Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Foreign Minister Abdullah Bu Habib. Minister Abdollahian will also meet with representatives of Palestinian factions and forces at the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
On Wednesday, dozens of Lebanese demonstrated against Abdullahian’s visit to the country. The demonstrators raised the Lebanese flag, and banners reading slogans, including: “Iran, get out of Lebanon,” and “We demand the liberation of Lebanon from Iranian occupation,” while there was no comment from the Lebanese government about the demonstration.
Political parties accuse Iran of trying to extend its influence in Lebanon, through “Hezbollah”.
This visit comes after Hezbollah brought shipments of Iranian diesel to Lebanon via Syria, and distributed them according to a plan drawn up by the party.
About two years ago, Lebanon was beset by an economic crisis, the worst in its history, as it caused a financial and living collapse, high poverty rates, and a scarcity of fuel, medicines and other basic commodities, due to the lack of foreign exchange needed to import them.
The Iranian Foreign Minister had arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, and after his talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, he left for the Lebanese capital, Beirut.