Lebanon Affirms Hezbollah Right to Bear Arms

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Hezbollah Media Office/Handout via Reuters)

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri declared on Tuesday that the Hezbollah terror militia, which is a prominent partner in his newly-formed government, has a right to its weaponry, The Times of Israel reported.

In a statement on his government’s economic policies, Hariri said that citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression,” a reference to Hezbollah’s massive arsenal aimed at Israel.

Hezbollah urged the new government to launch talks with banks to bring down the cost of servicing the state’s massive public debt, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

“The remarks by a Hezbollah lawmaker in parliament point to the wider influence his heavily armed group aims to exercise over the way Lebanon is governed as it departs from the more marginal role it has played in the past,” the news agency said.

The government last month said it would not restructure the public debt and reiterated its intention to pay all maturing debt and interest payments at predetermined dates.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah has assumed control of three ministries in the new government, the largest number of portfolios it has ever held.

The most significant portfolio under Hezbollah control is the Health Ministry, the first time Hezbollah has controlled a ministry with a big budget.

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