Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Anti-Iran Conference in Poland Failed before Start, Zarif Says

Anti-Iran Conference in Poland Failed before Start, Zarif Says

"I want to confirm again that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate with the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army in any field they see suitable", Zarif said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil, right, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

"Lebanon is committed to the dissociation policy", he added, referring to Beirut's attempts to staying out of regional conflicts.

The new Lebanese national unity government is led by the Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and groups most of the main political factions, including Hezbollah, which has expanded its role in the new cabinet.

In a speech last week, Nasrallah asked why Lebanon was "ignoring" Iran while "offering our necks to others" - an apparent reference to the United States, which has tightened sanctions against his group.

Zarif is the first foreign minister visiting Lebanon after the formation of the new government.

Mahmoud Qomati, a Hezbollah member and state minister for parliamentary affairs, said later that his group appreciates there is worldwide pressure on Lebanon but that shouldn't stand in the way of accepting Iran's offer to help the country's struggling economy. Zarif arrived in Lebanon on Sunday for a two-day official visit to meet with Lebanese officials and informed them about Iran's readiness to help Lebanon on all levels.

Tiny Lebanon has been host to more than a million refugees from neighbouring Syria since the civil war there began in 2011, though some have returned as fighting has eased in more and more areas of the country.

Zarif also said Iran would also help Lebanon with its refugee crisis.

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