Iran and Lebanon have diplomatic relations, with embassies in each other countries. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the two countries have deepened relations amidst controversy in Lebanon and abroad.
In Lebanon, support for ties with Iran is largely polarised across political alliances and blocks, with one end of the spectrum opposing stronger ties and the other advocating stronger ties as a counterweight to Israel.
Back in 2008, Doha intervened to end an 18-month-long political crisis in Lebanon, bringing the rival Lebanese political factions to reach a consensus on 21 May 2008 in what came to be known as the Doha Agreement.
That was followed by a visit from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Lebanon, welcoming the agreement as a “great achievement” for the Lebanese people.
Iran has been alleged to have founded and funded Hezbollah, a relationship that continues to this day. During the 2006 Lebanon War, between the state of Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran came out in firm support of Hezbollah in particular, and Lebanon in general.
Furthermore, protesters and political analysts alike have credited the establishment of Lebanon’s new Cabinet to Iranian support and “acceptance” by proxy through Hezbollah.
With the aim of strengthening its ties to Lebanon, as well as the boosting of cultural ties between the two states, Iran has now invited Lebanon to organize a “Lebanese cultural week” in Tehran; according to multiple media outlets, including Lebanon’s National News Agency.
Lebanon is also reportedly invited to attend the international book exhibition in Tehran in April, following a meeting between Lebanese Culture and Agriculture Minister Abbas Mortada and the cultural advisor of Iran in Lebanon Abbas Khama Yar.
According to reports, the two officials met in order to discuss bilateral cultural relations, as well as the importance of activating agreements between both countries in order to strengthen cooperation in such fields as publishing, theater, cinema, and music.
With Lebanon’s current new Cabinet being tainted with one political shade amid protest, as well as protesters aiming to close down streets before the Parliament’s vote of confidence next Tuesday, one can only wonder what the strategic implications of such a visit may be.