Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a telephone conversation with Lebanon’s newly elected president, said Tehran will keep its unwavering support for Lebanon’s government and nation as well as the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.
Rouhani also said the election of former general Michel Aoun as Lebanon’s new president was the manifestation of peace and the triumph of democracy and a victory for all the country’s political parties.
Rouhani extended his felicitations to Aoun over his landslide election victory.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that such an election, which took place following a healthy and free contest, was not the victory of a particular faction but was a manifestation of the peaceful coexistence of all various sects in Lebanon and a very sweet success for the Lebanese nation,” the Iranian president said.
After four rounds of voting, including two unexpected repeat votes, Aoun secured the presidency on Monday by winning the support of 83 out of 127 MPs, well above the absolute majority of 65 needed to win.
The 81-year-old Christian leader had managed to secure the support of two of his greatest rivals: Samir Geagea, the leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces, and ex-prime minister, Saad Hariri.
Rouhani further applauded the Lebanese nation for overcoming a difficult situation after a 29-month presidential vacuum and said Iran has always emphasized that Lebanon’s people are very capable of electing their country’s president if they are relieved of foreign pressure.
He reiterated Iran’s unwavering support for Lebanon’s government and nation as well as the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.
Addressing Aoun, the Iranian president said, “You shoulder this responsibility at a very sensitive time; a time that the region faces the two threats of the growth of Takfiri movements and terrorist groups as well as the indulgence of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and we are confident that with your election Lebanon’s resistance front will be strengthened in the face of these two threats.”
The Iranian president wished Aoun and the Lebanese people success and said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to expand relations with the friendly country of Lebanon in all of the political, economic and cultural sectors.”
Lebanon seeks bolstering ties with Iran: Aoun
Aoun, for his part, said Lebanon has always sought to expand relations with Iran and would continue to put emphasis on cordial bonds between the two nations and governments.
He described Iran’s support for Lebanon’s integrity as “very important” and said Beirut has always made efforts to reinforce national unity.
The newly-elected Lebanese president stressed the importance of remaining vigilant against threats posed by terrorist groups and the Israeli regime and expressed his country’s complete readiness to stand up to such threats with strength.
Iran FM congratulates all Lebanese on Aoun election
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also on Monday expressed his felicitations to all of the Lebanese on the election of Aoun as their country’s new president.
“Stability and progress assured when Lebanese themselves decide for Lebanon,” Zarif said on his Twitter page.
Observers view Aoun’s rise to power as a political victory for the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, which will greatly diminish the Saudi influence in Lebanon’s political arena. The kingdom has been vigorously lobbying to prevent Lebanon’s presidency from being placed in the hands of Hezbollah’s allies.
Aoun, the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, already had the endorsement of Hezbollah. Last week, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called upon all Lebanese political parties to join forces and put a favorable end to the presidential void in the Arab country.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since 2014, when the term of President Michel Suleiman expired.
The Lebanese parliament has repeatedly failed to elect a president due to the lack of quorum.
Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the president must be a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shia Muslim.