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Zarif: Hezbollah ‘sole organization to defend Lebanon’

6 March 2016 8:11



Iran’s Javad Zarif has lambasted [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council decision on labeling Hezbollah as terrorist organization, saying Hezbollah is the sole defender of Lebanese soil against Zionists.

Mohammad Javad Zarif participated in a joint press conference with his Maltese counterpart on Saturday evening after a meeting. Mr. George W. Vella is visiting Tehran to discuss matters of bilateral trade and a host of other issues with Iranian officials.

Zarif emphasized that the recent statement by the Council was indication that these countries had been going in the wrong track in fueling tension and conflict which would only be welcomed by the Zionist regime; “they have done so to win the acclaim of Israel; these policies have even disgruntled the Arab moderates; Hezbollah is the only organization which provides Lebanon with a defense against Zionists; the designation of Hezbollah as terrorist is despicable and will reveal the destructive nature of such actions,” he added.

“Iran has regularly called its neighbors to avoid behaviors which are provocative and would fuel tensions; the consequences of such misguided policies are evident in Yemen and Syria; we expect them to respond to our calls and respect the principle of good-neighborliness,” Mr. Zarif suggested.

“We are very pleased to have Your Excellency Maltese FM for the first time ever; Iran and Malta enjoy political relations since 1972; however, the ties suffered lags due to sanctions and both countries had lost opportunities to improve relations,” Zarif told his Maltese counterpart. “Malta will receive the EU presidency in 2017 and this will coincide with a change in US president in the White House; this will bring the EU a heavy challenge in securing the JCPOA implementation.”

On the fields of interest for both Iran and Malta, Zarif believed that there had been opportunities to cooperate in banking, insurance, shipping, international law and maritime law; “Malta enjoys a strong background and infrastructure in tourism and would work with Iran accordingly; the threat of extremism and terrorism has posed real danger for the EU and has been culminated in the huge waves of migrants swarming the EU borders,” he said. “Malta will need Iran’s good advice on fighting terrorism, since they face waves of migrants from Libya which would export extremists right into the country, since Malta is located in the vicinity of Libya in the Mediterranean.”

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