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Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah unfazed by Saudi, US threat; says dialogue with Iran is only way forward

Nasrallah was speaking days after Trump signed a USD 110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia aimed at bolstering Saudi security

world Updated: May 26, 2017 00:18 IST
Agencies, Beirut
Hezbollah,Hassan Nasrallah,Saudi
People watch Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as he appears on a screen during a live broadcast to speak to his supporters at an event marking Resistance and Liberation Day in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, May 25, 2017. (REUTERS Photo)

The head of Lebanese movement Hezbollah said Thursday he was unfazed by “threats” of attacks or fresh sanctions, days after US President Donald Trump slammed the group and its sponsor Iran.

On his visit to Riyadh last week, Trump blamed Iran for destabilising the Middle East and called for a crackdown on its allies, including Shiite movement Hezbollah.

He spoke via video-link to hundreds of supporters gathered in the northeast Lebanese town of Hermel to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

But party chief Hassan Nasrallah struck a defiant tone on Thursday, saying Hezbollah was “not afraid of any war, sanctions, or intimidation in the media.”

“Threats of killing or dying do not scare us... No one scares us at all. They are weaker than ever,” Nasrallah said.

The chief of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group is telling Saudi Arabia that dialogue with Iran is the only way forward, lashing out at the kingdom’s lavish royal welcome of US president Donald Trump.

In a speech on Thursday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says the US president is ‘only interested in money’ and is the most ‘racist’ U.S. president against Arabs and Muslims. He says the Saudi welcome and deals signed are a sign of the kingdom’s weakness.

Nasrallah was speaking days after Trump signed a USD 110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia aimed at bolstering Saudi security, and after the US State Department announced sanctions on senior Hezbollah leader Hashem Safieddine.

Nasrallah dismissed the sanctions as laughable and said such summits and declarations “will not make any difference.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards created Hezbollah (Party of God) in the 1980s.

With political and military support from Iran, it remains the only side not to have put down weapons after Lebanon’s civil war from 1975 to 1990.

The United States, Canada and Australia have listed Hezbollah as a “terrorist” group. The European Union has also blacklisted its military wing.

First Published: May 26, 2017 00:17 IST