Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Iranian Weapons for Lebanon

Hezbollah-controlled TV Network Al Manar reported that Iran and Lebanon have signed a historic military agreement during Lebanese President Michel Suleiman’s visit to Tehran. Iran’s Press TV noted the visit may cause “unease and tension” in Lebanon in light of the recent US-Lebanese defense agreement and anti-Iranian sentiment present in the Republic.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and President Suleiman signed the agreement, which would provide “heavy weaponry and military bases with anti-ballistic missiles,” both needed to improve the capabilities of the Lebanese army [Al Manar; 26 November].

President Michel Suleiman, in a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as thanking the Islamic Republic for “its support during the July 2006 war.” Khamenei stressed on the need for a “united Lebanese front to fight the Zionist enemy.”

If Al Manar report on signing of the agreement is correct, it comes on the heels of the US military agreement with Lebanon. The agreement with Iran cab be greeted as a step toward bolstering the defensive capabilities of the Lebanese army, to face the much stronger Israeli army. Analysts pointed out that the US military aid to Lebanon pales in comparison to the quantity, level and type of weaponry Lebanon would get from Iran.

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