Hezbollah wants Iran to arm Lebanese Army

Aug. 25, 2010 at 8:11 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government to seek Iran's assistance in providing arms for the Lebanese army.

"I vow that Hezbollah will work fervently and capitalize on its friendship with Iran to ensure it helps arm the Lebanese military in any way it can and Hezbollah's ministers will make that same vow before the cabinet," Nasrallah said in a speech on Hezbollah's al-Manar satellite station.

The speech Tuesday evening marked the iftar, the evening meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast, Middle East Online said Wednesday.

Nasrallah's statement comes two weeks after the United States announced a freeze on support to the Lebanese army, a decision made in the wake of deadly border clashes between Lebanese and Israeli troops Aug. 3, the report said.

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced Aug. 10 he had placed a hold on $100 million in aid to Lebanon's military, the site said.

Berman said he feared Lebanese armed forces were working with Hezbollah, which Washington lists as a terrorist organization.

At the time Lebanese Defense Minister Elias al-Murr harshly criticized the decision and opened a bank account for donations that would help modernize the army, the report said.

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