September 24, 2023

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Iran-Saudi détente signals new era in region: Hezbollah deputy chief

TEHRAN- Sheikh Naim Qassem, the Hezbollah deputy secretary general, has voiced confidence over the recent agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, seeing it as a monumental move that can result in a substantial change in the dynamics of the region.

“We expressed delight at the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, because there was no justification for the continuation of discord between the two countries, as we do not intend to hold any party accountable” Qassem said when asked about his viewpoints regarding the recent rapprochement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as its impacts on the situation in Lebanon and the region. 

“We are facing an agreement that we want to be successful. So, the agreement marked a major upheaval in the region. Under this agreement, the cooperation and coordination between certain Arab countries and Israel and the U.S. for enmity towards Iran was replaced by enmity towards the Israeli regime. This is an important issue. The regional countries are entitled to live comfortably, enjoy sustainable security and have economic cooperation,” he told Tasnim in an interview published on Saturday.

He also highlighted, “There is no real dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia that would entail a great enmity between them. Therefore, we welcome this agreement and believe that the agreement will persist, because it is in the interests of the both countries and they are well aware of this issue.”

Given the impacts and results of the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, he went on to add, “It would naturally have positive effects on the whole regional countries because of the major role of those two countries in the region, including in Lebanon. However, time will determine the extent and nature of that impact. In this juncture, the impacts will be psychological and positive. Lebanon will not be a field of confrontation. If we suppose that disagreements usually resulted in chaos or miscalculations in some cases, there is currently a stable atmosphere, by God’s grace, and all of us should take advantage of it.”

The Hezbollah deputy chief stressed, “The practical impact of the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia on Lebanon needs time so that we will realize what subjects will be considered in line with the interests of Lebanon and how Lebanon will interact with these agreements. It will need some time. I would say yes, there is currently a psychological impact after the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to which other various Lebanese parties would not adopt a negative stance even against their rival parties or against another country.”

“At present, we are witnessing complete silence in Lebanon, but nearly everybody has been convinced to welcome this agreement, although some others have not been convinced. Anyway, we are witnessing the creation of a positive atmosphere at this psychological level, while the practical level will need time,” he continued. 

In an inquiry about the most recent meeting of the Arab League and Syria’s return to the Arab body, he said, “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took part in the summit of Arab leaders in Jeddah as a hero, as if the conference awarded Bashar al-Assad the medal of victory for confrontation with all conferences that have been held against Syria for the past 13 years.”

He lauded the efforts made to safeguarding Syria by the martyr Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

“We believe that this success is the result of solidarity of the axis of resistance, particularly the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah and all parties that helped this process. We will never forget the leading role of the great martyr Major General Qassem Soleimani who commanded the axis of resistance in the operation to defend Syria and the Syrian resistance base. We now express the name of Martyr Soleimani to declare that the plot against Syria has failed and now we are facing a new stage. In this stage, Syria should be reconstructed, its occupied territories must be liberated, and the problems with Turkey should be resolved. Moreover, the displaced Syrians should also return to their country,” he added. 

The second-ranking person in the Hezbollah movement continued by saying that “in regard to Hezbollah and the relations with Syria, I should say, our presence in Syria depends on the degree of needs. We have received no request in this regard and emphasize the Syrian territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

“We consider ourselves as an auxiliary factor to help Syria enjoy improved conditions, sovereignty over its lands, dignity, and its position. We will be present in Syria as long as it is necessary, but we cannot define a time and figure in this regard at present. This will depend on the degree of the need for our presence in Syria, which is always agreed upon with Mr. Bashar al-Assad, as the coordination is in progress at the highest levels,” he underlined. 

Sheikh Naim Qassem also talked about the historical significance of May 25, which marks the liberation of southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation. 

He emphasized the extraordinary accomplishment of forcing Israel to leave southern Lebanon without any preconditions after about two decades of occupation.

Sheikh Qassem also said since al-Quds belongs to all Muslims, the battle against the Zionist regime goes beyond Palestine and the Arab world.

He commended Imam Khomeini’s bold gesture, which turned the Palestinian conflict into an Islamic cause and brought the Arab-Islamic Ummah together in the resistance movement. 

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