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Jumblatt: Antagonizing Iran was mistake


Lebanese Druz leader Walid Jumblatt says the language used against Iran, which put Tehran on a similar level of hostility as Israel, was “mistaken”.

It seems that Jumblatt, who recently played the leading part in a major political power shift in the country, has now changed his tune on Iran as well.

The leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, who has recently been making the headlines in Lebanon, told the local As-Safir daily that Iran’s role in the region could not be ignored.

In a keynote address at Beirut’s Beaurivage Hotel on August 2, Jumblatt sent shock waves around the Lebanese capital by announcing that his alliance with the Western-backed March 14 coalition had been “driven by necessity and must end”.

The development proved that his alliance with the March 14 coalition was the key to the group’s victory in the recent parliamentary elections.

That announcement, shifted political balance in favor of the Hezbollah-led opposition, which had won a total of 57 seats in parliament in comparison to the US and French-backed ruling majority’s 71 seats.

The former March 14 heavyweight’s dramatic U-turn has taken Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri by surprise, forcing him to stall efforts to form a cabinet.

According to comments by Caretaker Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Hariri left Lebanon on Tuesday for a brief vacation in France to “reflect and think quietly.”

During the interview with As Safir, Jumblatt once again clarified his position by criticizing the March 14 group on matters such as their “unrealistic” and “insensitive” attitude toward the Palestinian issue and Israeli occupation of Arab land.

Commenting on the issue of Hezbollah’s arms- weapons which the group insists will help resist Israeli invasions- Jumblatt also said that dialogue must continue to determine how they can be absorbed and used in time.

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