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Netanyahu: Resignation of Lebanese President Highlights Iranian Danger

Netanyahu: Resignation of Lebanese President Highlights Iranian Danger

Iran said on Saturday that the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri would create tension in Lebanon and the region.

A resignation would thrust Lebanon back into the arena of regional rivalry between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, an ally of Hariri, and Shia Muslim Iran, which backs Hezbollah.

The 47-year-old Sunni politician's resignation comes less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah's political wing belongs, was formed.

"It is clear that the resignation was a Saudi decision that was imposed on Prime Minister Hariri". In a statement, the presidential office said Aoun was informed by Hariri in a phone call of his resignation, adding that the president now awaits Hariri's return to clarify the circumstances of his resignation and proceed accordingly. Hariri cited threats on his life and Iran and its proxy Hezbollah's vast influence in Lebanon in his decision to resign.

The Saudi-owned daily also said Hariri believed he was being used as a cover by Iran and Hezbollah to "lead the country towards great adventures where he will be a pawn to cover up their actions".

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hariri's resignation and comments "are a wake-up call to the worldwide community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into Lebanon 2".

"We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri", he said Saturday, referencing his late father who was killed in 2005, according to Reuters. The country's political system, designed in 1989 as per the Taif Agreement, stipulates that the president has to be a Maronite Christian, the premier a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite.

In this February 14, 2005, file photo, vehicles burn following a massive bomb attack that tore through the motorcade of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon.

A UN-backed tribunal has indicted five Hezbollah members for the killing but the group denies any involvement.

Hariri said Hezbollah's policies have put Lebanon "in the eye of the storm". Thamer al-Sabhan said in an interview with a Lebanese TV station on Saturday that there were "threats against the prime minister and the kingdom is keen for his security".


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