BEIRUT — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian insisted Friday that officials in Lebanon, which has been without a president for the past ten months, have the "necessary competence and wisdom" to find a solution.
Speaking after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib, during a tour in Beirut, Abdollahian said: "The election of a president is an internal affair, and the Lebanese leaders have the competence and wisdom to reach an agreement on this issue."
"Iran refuses to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, including Lebanon," he added.
During his tour, Abdollahian also held talks with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
In a speech on Thursday evening, Berri proposed a compromise under which he pledged to organize open parliamentary elections, provided that they are preceded by an extended dialogue that would bring together the heads of the parliamentary blocs in the hemicycle for seven days.
"We have discussed bilateral issues, and we are ready to strengthen commercial cooperation with Lebanon, we are ready to cooperate to resolve the electricity crisis. Cooperation between Iran and Lebanon will benefit the entire region," the Iranian minister added.
Iran, which actively supports Hezbollah in many ways, is targeted by numerous US sanctions, making it difficult for the Lebanese state to officially import fuel from this country.
In 2021, when Lebanon was facing a shortage of domestic fuel, Iran supplied it with shipments of heating oil, but via Hezbollah, which is also sanctioned.
"Had the Lebanese government approved the initiative put forward by Iran to reform the electricity sector ten years ago, Lebanon could have now been able to export electricity and would not have only secured its own needs," Abdollahian told reporters during a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on Friday afternoon.
"As soon as the [fuel] donation is approved, Iran is ready to send technical teams and equipment to establish 2,000-megawatt power plants," he added. The donations need "the approval of the Lebanese authorities."
No desire to interfere
During the meeting between Abdollahian and Nasrallah, discussions focused on "the latest political developments in Lebanon and the region," Hezbollah said in a statement released on Friday.
The meeting took place Thursday night, according to a Hezbollah spokeswoman. It was attended by Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mojtaba Amani and an Iranian diplomatic delegation.
At a press briefing held on his arrival in Beirut, Abdollahian declared that "Iran only wants what is good for Lebanon," and stressed that the purpose of his visit was to discuss the Lebanese presidential election, which has been blocked by political tensions since Michel Aoun stepped down on Oct. 31, 2022.
He also ruled out any desire to interfere, asserting that "it was up to the Lebanese leaders themselves to elect a president."
The head of Iranian diplomacy also visited Beirut last April, in the wake of his country's rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. During this visit, he expressed Tehran's support for "any candidate" elected to Lebanon's presidency by consensus.