Iran's President Hassan Rouhani criticized Saudi Arabia on Wednesday over what he called "unprecedented" interference in Lebanese affairs, adding his voice to those who suspect the Gulf kingdom forced Lebanon's prime minister to resign.
Rouhani's remarks followed a phone call to his Lebanese counterpart the previous day, in which the Iranian president pledged support for
Lebanon's stability following the resignation of Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The surprise resignation, announced on TV from Saudi Arabia, threw the Lebanese government into disarray and dragged Lebanon back into the increasingly tense regional rivalry between Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran. Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Hariri's resignation will not be considered until he hears from him directly.
Rouhani's official website quoted the Iranian president as saying "there is no case in history that a country forces another one's authority to resign only to interfere (in) their internal affairs."
"You are making mistake if you think Iran is not your friend and the US and Israel are your friends," Rouhani said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
In his announcement Saturday, Hariri accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage. Hezbollah has members in the Lebanese unity government that Hariri formed last year.