Dismissing Anti-Regime Protests, Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah Lauds Iranian Support for ‘Resistance Axis’
The leader of Lebanon’s Shi’a terrorist organization Hezbollah dismissed the wave of protests that has swept over Iran during the past week as “nothing to worry about,” in an in-depth television interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah also told the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen broadcaster that successive Israeli air attacks on his group’s positions and weapons supply convoys “have not stopped and will not stop our supply of weapons.”
“With regard to Iran, in my opinion there is nothing to be worried about,” Nasrallah said, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation. “What has happened in Iran is being successfully contained.”
Iran is the main backer and collaborator of Hezbollah, widely regarded as the wealthiest and most powerful Islamist terrorist group in the world. Thousands of Hezbollah fighters have participated in Iran’s military effort to secure the regime of President Bashar al-Assad during the Syrian Civil War.
In an interview with Israeli media last August, the outgoing Israeli Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, said that almost 100 air strikes had been launched against Hezbollah since 2012. Hezbollah currently has upward of 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel — ten times the arsenal at its disposal during its last open conflict with the Jewish state in 2006.
In his interview, Nasrallah accused the US and Israel of having orchestrated the anti-regime protests in Iran — echoing a similar claim made earlier in the week by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The protests “will not affect Iran’s support for the resistance,” he said. “The Iranian people have faith in the resistance, and the hopes of (US President Donald) Trump and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu will be frustrated.”
The Hezbollah leader stressed that the “main issue today is the intifada (uprising) inside Palestine and the required support outside Palestine.”
“If any Arab country was aiding the Palestinians as much as Iran did, they would have made a celebration every time they received a check,” Nasrallah jested.
Nasrallah maintained that “the military pillars in the resistance axis are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen.”
“We believe that the Israeli enemy can be defeated and one of the most important achievements for the resistance is bringing down the so-called ‘invincible army,'” he continued.
Denouncing IDF troops as “cowards,” Nasrallah claimed that “the Israeli soldier couldn’t take one step without aerial support — the problem is within the Israeli soldier, not with his tanks and aircraft.”
In a further rebuff to foreign diplomats who believe Hezbollah could be persuaded to adopt a path of negotiations, Nasrallah confirmed that his organization “would never make peace with Israel, and neither would it acknowledge this entity legitimately even if the entire world did so.”
Nasrallah’s comments were slammed by one of Lebanon’s leading Christian military and political leaders, Samir Geagea. In a statement, Geagea — the head of the Lebanese Forces political party — asserted that Nasrallah “always acts as if there are no Lebanese people, a country called Lebanon or a Lebanese state.”
Geagea accused Nasrallah of acting “without an authorization from the people, in a blatant encroachment on legitimate Lebanese institutions.”
“Should there be a preemptive defense plan for Lebanon in the face of Israel and other forces, the Lebanese Army should be in charge of devising it,” he said — referencing Hezbollah’s continued existence as a separate military entity on Lebanese soil, in violation of successive UN Security Council resolutions.
Meanwhile, a Beirut judge on Thursday issued an arrest warrant in absentia against Lebanese journalist Maria Maalouf for “slander and incitement” against Nasrallah.
The warrant was based on a tweet that Maalouf — now in exile in Dubai — posted in March 2017, in which she remarked, “If Israel considers Hasan Nasrallah its enemy, why doesn’t it carry out an airstrike that would rid us of him, thus gaining our faith and protecting itself?”
Maalouf was charged the following month with inciting sedition and posting remarks that put the safety of Lebanon and its residents at risk, The Daily Star reported. The charges against her carry a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.