Iran's foreign minister arrives in Beirut amid Lebanese presidential impasse

Hossein Amirabdollahian arrived in Lebanon after meeting Syrian officials in Damascus

It is the second time in four months that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has visited Lebanon. Reuters
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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian arrived in Beirut on Thursday after holding talks with top Syrian officials in Damascus.

Upon his arrival at Beirut's international airport, the Iranian foreign minister reiterated his call for Lebanon to end its 10-month governance vacuum and elect a new president.

He insisted that "Iran only wanted the good of Lebanon." Adding that Tehran does not want to interfere in the presidential battle, and that "it was up to the Lebanese leaders to elect themselves a president".

During his visit, the second in four months, he is expected to meet caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Mr Amirabdollahian's most recent visit in April had come a month after Iran and its traditional regional foe Saudi Arabia had agreed to normalise relations after years of tensions.

Earlier this month he visited Riyadh where he held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the highest level of talks since the March agreement.

The impact of any Saudi-Iran rapprochement on Lebanon remains to be seen. Both have traditionally held significant sway in the country.

Iran's key ally in Lebanon is Hezbollah, the powerful Shiite armed group and political party that wields significant influence in the country.

Updated: August 31, 2023, 1:56 PM