Iran-Backed Hezbollah Vies for Power in Lebanon

An Iranian guard holds a Hezbollah flag during a funeral procession and burial for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, at his hometown in Kerman, Iran January 7, 2020. REUTERS./

BEIRUT, March 31 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said on Wednesday it was time for politicians to make concessions to agree a new government that must rescue the country from financial crisis.

Lebanon’s financial meltdown is posing the most serious threat to stability since the 1975-1990 civil war, but politicians have been unable to form a government for months.

“Everyone must know the country has run out of time,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah, said in a televised speech.

He said there were “serious, collective efforts” in recent days to ease a political standoff that has obstructed cabinet talks for months.

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FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah react carrying Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's pictures during a public appearance by Nasrallah at a religious procession, one day before the Shi'ites will mark the day of Ashura, in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, have been at loggerheads since October.

“It is time…If someone is still waiting for something, wants something or expects it, we have to put these matters aside and move seriously towards a real, rapid solution,” Nasrallah said.

Hariri has said Aoun is trying to dictate cabinet seats in order to gain veto power, while Aoun’s party accuses Hariri of trying to orchestrate a majority for himself and his allies.

A new cabinet will have to implement reforms if it is to unlock much needed foreign aid for Lebanon.


(Reporting by Beirut bureau; Editing by Gareth Jones/Mark Heinrich)


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