Angry Lebanese Leaders Reject Arrogant Rouhani ‘Colonial’ Statements

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks provoked a wave of angry reactions in Lebanon. Political leaders in the March 14 Forces emphasized that his positions reflected a “colonial project that would destroy the sovereignty of states and abolish the borders,” Asharq Al-Awsat reports.

Earlier this week, the Iranian president was quoted as saying: “No decisive action can be taken in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, North Africa and the Persian Gulf without Iran.”

“The reason for this is the knowledge of the Iranian people, the wisdom of the leader of the revolution, and the unity of ranks and solidarity in the country,” he added.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri was quick to respond. He wrote on his Twitter page that Rouhani’s statement saying no decision could be taken in Lebanon without Iran was unacceptable, stressing that the country was an “independent Arab state that will not accept any guardianship, and refuses any violation to its dignity.”

Member of the Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc, MP Antoine Zahra, noted that the Iranian position “proves the truth that we always say, that Hezbollah is part of an Iranian project in Lebanon and the region, while they have been misleading people and saying otherwise.”

“The Iranian project has turned into a colonial project, which does not respect the borders and sovereignty of countries, and has only the logic of exporting the revolution. This is unacceptable, and we are focusing in our political work on thwarting this project in Lebanon,” Zahra said.

Member of the Phalanges parliamentary bloc, MP Fadi Habr, told Asharq Al-Awsat:

“In the Iranian perspective, Lebanon has become part of Iran’s strategic scope, which was proven when the Lebanese presidential deal was completed. This deal was then achieved in the government and the state administration”, Habr noted, expressing his regret that “some Lebanese sovereign blocs slipped into this arrangement and consolidated the Iranian hegemony over the country.”

Former Minister Boutros Harb addressed the Iranian president, saying:

“Let everyone lift their hands off Lebanon and let the Lebanese people, their state and institutions, only, determine the fate of their country.”

Former Minister and Major General Ashraf Rifi, for his part, criticized President Michel Aoun for not responding to Rouhani.

“The silence of President Michel Aoun on Rouhani’s insult to Lebanon is unacceptable and shameful,” he said in a statement.