Rabat – Amid regional tension, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned from his position on Saturday in a surprise move during a televised speech from Saudi Arabia.
Hariri said that he is afraid of the possibility of an assassination plot against him, recalling the murder of his father, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was killed in an explosion in 2005.
“We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination martyr Rafik Hariri. I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life,” he said in the speech.
He also severely criticized Iran and its Lebanese Shia ally Hezbollah, for “their meddling in Arab affairs.”
“I want to say to Iran and its followers that they are losing in their interference in the affairs of Arab nations, and our nation will rise as it did before and the hands that are extended to it with evil will be cut off,” Hariri said.
He accused Hezbollah’s policies of putting Lebanon “in the eye of the storm.”
“Hezbollah was able in past decades to impose a status quo in Lebanon through its weapons directed at the chests of Syrians and Lebanese,” he said.
Hariri has made several visits in the past days to Iranian opponent Saudi Arabia, raising speculation that its influence might have played part in his decision.
Hariri served as prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and took office again in 2016. During his term, he headed a 30-member national unity cabinet that included the Shia militant Hezbollah.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun “will ask Hariri to remain in his position” until a candidate replaces him and forms a government, said The Independent.
Hariri’s replacement has to be a Sunni Muslim, in accordance with the Lebanese constitution.