Tehran’s Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani has expressed support for reforms in Iraq and Lebanon amid popular protests in the two countries, but warned of hostile elements seeking to destabilize the countries.
“The people of Iraq and Lebanon should value the importance of security and stability and be vigilant against an enemy plot seeking to create strife among different factions and tribes,” the cleric said during weekly Friday prayers in the Iranian capital.
The remarks echoed statements made by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei earlier this week.
The Leader warned that the US and Western spy services, with the financial help of the reactionary Arab regimes, are seeking to instigate “dangerous hostilities” in Iraq and Lebanon despite their people’s “legitimate demands”.
Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani highlighted how foreign influence and corruption has led to major grievances in the two countries.
“The United States has been looting one million barrels of Iraqi oil on a daily basis on the pretext of receiving compensation for war,” he said, adding Washington is apparently openly encouraging violence.
Highlighting how Iraq’s troubles are rooted in US interference in the country, the cleric noted that the “virtuous people of Iraq know how and are able to achieve true reforms under the framework of the legitimate government, law and the guidance of their religious sources to follow.”
Speaking about recent protests in Lebanon, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani said ignoring the people’s economic needs was one of the main roots of the country’s woes.
The cleric said the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri has significantly raised Lebanon’s debt by accepting foreign loans despite failing to make positive changes in the lives of the Lebanese.
“Managing the economic needs of the Lebanese people requires 15 billion dollars annually, this is while different governments have raised Lebanon’s debt to 120 billion dollars due to their incompetence,” he said.
“The annual interest that has to be paid now exceeds the government’s yearly earning,” Ayatollah Movahei Kermani added.
The protests in Lebanon are an opportunity for the government to push with reforms, the Iranian cleric said.
“The resignation of Hariri, however, showed that certain political factions have preferred the interests of the United States, Israel and some Arab governments over the interests of the people,” he said.