Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's impending visit to Lebanon has reportedly stirred controversy among Beirut's political circles, as some in the country view it as provocation meant to serve the Iranian leader's future plans for war.
Ahmadinejad is set to visit Lebanon on October 13, where he will "officially recognize it as an Iranian base" in the Middle East.
Antwone Andreus, deputy chief of the Al-Mustaqbal Movement, warned Sunday that Ahmadinejad's visit is a provocation of the Lebanese people: "Ahmadinejad is an enemy of Lebanon because he gives Hezbollah weapons, and they walks into Beirut's streets and gun us down."
Fares Saeed, a senior member of the March 14 Alliance, the political bloc headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, added: "At a time when there are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Iranian president wants to underscore the fact that Lebanon is land belonging to the resistance and that his war plan against Israel in ongoing.
"Ahmadinejad wasn’t to remind the international community that Israel's security is in Iran's hands via Hamas and Hezbollah."
The March 14 Alliance issues an official statement denouncing the visit, as well.
Deputy Secretary of the Hezbollah Sheikh Naim Kasse, on the other hand, stressed that Ahmadinejad's visit was legitimate, given Iran's contribution to the country's rehabilitation after the Second Lebanon War.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, on his part, dismissed the allegations, saying Ahmadinejad's visit "follows an official request of the Lebanese government. We respect every opinion, but the most important thing is cooperating to achieve both nations' goals.
"Lebanon's stability is a gift from which everyone benefits. We stand by the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people. We can support Lebanon, through mutual agreements, in the economy and even in the military. There are no limits to Iran's cooperation with Lebanon."
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