Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia forced Lebanese PM to resign

Casey Dawson
November 6, 2017

Hariri, who announced that he was stepping down while in Saudi Arabia, also said, in a televised broadcast, that he took the step because he feared for his life, and accused Iran of spreading fear and destruction in several countries, including Lebanon.

Iran said on Saturday that the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri would create tension in Lebanon and the region.

"Lebanon is a fragile country".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was concerned by Hariri's resignation and hoped all sides in the country would back its state institutions, his spokesman on Lebanon Stephane Dujarric said in an emailed statement.

"This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East".

Hezbollah was founded with Iranian support in 1982 to resist the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and has since emerged as a regional power in its own right. "The global community needs to come together and stand against this aggression", he said. Hezbollah denies any involvement.

Saudi media have published reports of a plot to assassinate Hariri in recent days, but all of Lebanon's main security branches have said they have no information about such a plot. His attacks on Hezbollah come on the heels of new US sanctions on the group that many fear will impact negatively on the Lebanese economy.

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"I declare my resignation from the premiership of the Lebanese government, with the certainty that the will of the Lebanese is strong", Hariri said.

In Beirut's Tarik al-Jadideh neighborhood, a predominantly Sunni neighborhood supportive of Hariri, residents described the shock resignation as a positive step.

Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, has been serving as prime minister since December 2016. Thamer al-Sabhan said in an interview with a Lebanese TV station on Saturday that there were "threats against the prime minister and the kingdom is keen for his security".

Hariri disclosed his surprise decision during a televised speech from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reported to our newscast unit.

Hariri's resignation comes only a day after he met Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Beirut.

Hariri's speech came during his second visit this week to Saudi Arabia, which is embroiled in proxy conflicts with Iran, including Yemen's deadly civil war.

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