Iran attacked Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri today, calling his recent criticism of Iran "unfounded, deceitful and divisive."
Saad Hariri with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran (November 2010)
ISNA reports that Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast addressed Hariri's statements today, saying: "Taking deceitful stances in the framework of U.S.-Zionist interests is not only against Lebanon's interests but it also challenges the stability and independence of the region."
Mehmanparast advised Hariri to develop a "correct understanding of the lessons of the mass popular uprisings in the Arab Middle East" in order to avoid relying on the West "especially the U.S. and Zionism."
Yesterday, at the start of an economic conference between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, Hariri attacked the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, accusing Iran of "blatant interference in affairs of Arab countries."
"Iran interferes in the affairs of Lebanon, Bahrain and Kuwait," Hariri contended. "These interferences are no longer acceptable."
Lebanon's Hezbollah also issued a statement condemning Hariri's statements and accusing him of aligning himself with the "divisive policies of the U.S. in the region."
Tensions between Hezbollah and Hariri rose this January with the resignation of 11 Hezbollah ministers from Hariri's cabinet, which brought down his government.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has urged Hariri to run the government until a new one is established.
When Hariri announced his 30-member cabinet in 2009, 11 of his ministers had ties to Hezbollah. They resigned from the coalition government to protest the investigation of several Hezbollah members by a special court looking into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister.
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