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Iran: Disarming Lebanon’s Hezbollah non-negotiable

People celebrate the return of Hezbollah soldiers in Lebanon on 4 August 2017 [Suleiman Amhaz/Anadolu Agency

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards will play an active role in establishing a lasting “ceasefire” in crisis-hit Syria, its chief commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, adding that disarming Lebanon’s Hezbollah was non-negotiable, state TV reported today.

Hezbollah must be armed to fight against the enemy of the Lebanese nation which is Israel. Naturally they should have the best weapons to protect Lebanon’s security. This issue is non-negotiable

the television quoted Jafari as saying.

Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, whose rivalry has wrought upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia has accused the Iran-backed Hezbollah of helping Houthi forces in Yemen and playing a role in a ballistic missile attack on the Kingdom earlier this month. Iran and Hezbollah both denied the claims.

Read: Are Hezbollah and Iran the real threat to Arabs in the Middle East?

Jafari repeated Iran’s stance on its disputed ballistic missile work, saying the Islamic Republic’s missile programme is for defensive purposes and not up for negotiation.

The programme was not part of the 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.

“Iran will not negotiate its defensive programme … there will be no talks about it,” he said.

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