'Hands off,' Lebanon's Hariri tells Iran

Feb. 7, 2014 at 11:11 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Lebanese political slate, which enjoys Western support, said Friday it was time for Iran to "keep its hands off" internal affairs.

The Future Movement, led by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, issued a statement Friday expressing frustration with the political dynamics in the country.

"The Future bloc calls on Iran to keep its hands off Lebanon and stop dragging Hezbollah further into the Syrian quagmire," a statement published by Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star said.

Hezbollah, a Shiite movement with political influence in Beirut, is supported by Iran.

Hezbollah last year admitted it had guerrillas fighting alongside pro-government forces in the Syrian civil war. Hezbollah's role in Syria was blamed by Lebanese security officials for a series of bombings in Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut.

Hariri's political slate said the "only realistic solution" to prevent the Syrian war from spilling over the border would be to send more Lebanese and U.N. peacekeeping forces to the region.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this week the escalation of terrorism in Lebanon was an "unacceptable" threat to the country's national security.

Lebanon broke free from Syrian dominance with its Cedar Revolution in 2005.

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