An article recent published in the London Arabic language daily a-Sharq al-Awsat caused quite a stir when it claimed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered Hizbullah Secretary
General Hassan Nasrallah to consign control over the military wing of the organization to his deputy, Naim Qassem.
According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Muhammad Ali Hosseini, speaking in a weekly press conference Sunday morning, the aforementioned claims constitute nothing but "rumors spread with the central aim of emasculating the Lebanese opposition vis-à-vis the Zionist regime."
The article that first asserted Nasrallah had been demoted was published last Thursday and was authored by Ali Nurizadeh, an Iranian exile known for his critical view of the Iranian regime - apparently in an attempt to embarrass the Mullahs in Tehran and harm their relationship with the Lebanese terror organization.
In July, Nurizadeh penned an article detailing a large weapons deal reached in a meeting between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad. According to Nurizadeh's report, the transaction was aimed at torpedoing any chance of dialogue between Israel and the Syrians. Tehran firmly denied that there was any truth in Nurizadeh's account.
During the press conference, Hosseini also addressed an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel, according to which Germany expelled an Iranian diplomat in July after the latter attempted to procure equipment for his country's nuclear program. In an issue expected to hit newsstands tomorrow, the newspaper claims that the diplomat was expelled after contacting specialists in Southern Germany about purchasing components for control systems, essential for enriching uranium. The report in Der Spiegel is without a source, but names the diplomat at a consular employee by the name of "Moharram-Meli D.".
The newspaper did not report if the sought-after part was intended for high-level enrichment for developing nuclear weapons, or for the lower-level enrichment Iran claims is designed to supply nuclear fuel to meet Iran's energy needs. The German Foreign Ministry has refused to comment on the affair.
Hosseini claimed that "the Germans came to a decision regarding our consular employee and took an illegal action. We have protested and are dealing with the issue." The foreign ministry spokesman called upon Germany to reconsider its decision.