It is during an official diplomatic visit in Lebanon last week that the newly appointed Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, made offers of direct support to the Lebanese State.
During his visit, he met with Lebanon’s top officials; President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Head of the Parliament Nabih Berri, along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdallah Bou Habib.
He also met with Hassan Nasrallah, whom he described as “the greatest national personality in Lebanon.”
All those meetings were a way to raise the questions of the official amelioration of the relationships between both countries.
The Iranian diplomat offers to construct in 18 months two power plants of 1,000 megawatts each, one in Beirut and one in the south, as a solution to the fuel and electricity shortage in Lebanon.
He also declared that Iran would help with the reconstruction of the destroyed Port of Beirut “if the Lebanese government makes such a request.”
Those propositions, if implemented, would allow Iran to further expand its sphere of influence in Lebanon, a situation that has been unsettling to many in the country.
Just a few days ago, on October 6th, protesters marched in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs against the growing Iranian influence in their country.
They asked for the implementation of UN resolution 1559 and the disarmament of the militias, which was not applied to Hezbollah like all other militias of the Lebanese Civil War, under the pretext of it fighting the Israeli state.
The conclusion of the Iranian diplomat’s visit is, nevertheless, his affirmation that Iran will continue to export fuel in Lebanon through Hezbollah, despite international sanctions.
Iranian media quoted him saying, “We defend Lebanese resistance against threats to sovereignty, security, independence, and the Lebanese territorial integrity, as well as against the zionist regime, and our support to the Lebanese resistance against the potential threats of the Zionist regime will go on.”
It’s unclear if by “Lebanese resistance” the Iranian official meant Lebanon and its “sovereignty and independence” in general or just Hezbollah in particular since it is the label that the Iranian-backed party goes by.
In context, the Beirut Mayor of Ghobeiri offers the Golf Club of Lebanon for “the Iranian power plant,” as he called it, which sparks outrage among the Lebanese people over the weekend.