Iran calls for support for Hezbollah, Syria

July 3, 2013 at 9:55 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 3 (UPI) -- It is important for members of the Lebanese political class to stand by Hezbollah and its support for the Syrian government, the Iranian envoy to Beirut said.

Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi met Wednesday with Michel Aoun, a former military commander and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Hezbollah ally, in Beirut.

Hezbollah gunmen are fighting alongside supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad during the country's civil war. The Shiite movement considers itself a resistance force against outside aggression.

Iran is one of Hezbollah's staunchest supporters. Roknabadi told the Lebanese political leader support for the resistance was necessary as it stood beside the Syrian regime, Lebanon's official National News Agency reported.

More than a dozen members of the Lebanese military were killed last month during the capture of a compound held by Sunni religious leader Ahmad Assir, a harsh critic of Hezbollah and the Assad regime.

The Lebanese news agency reported forensic evidence taken from last month's raid in the coastal city of Sidon proved Assir was not killed in the attack. His whereabouts are unknown.

U.S. diplomats visited with Lebanese officials this week in Beirut, vowing to stand by its allies in the face of mounting pressure from Syria's civil war.

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