A week after Hariri resigned from his position in a surprise move during a televised speech from Saudi Arabia, saying that he fears for his life, Nasrallah said today that Hariri “had been forced to resign by the Saudis.”
As Hezbollah sees that Hariri’s captivity is now “beyond any doubt,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other politicians have demanded his return from Saudi Arabia, suspecting that he is being held against his will and was forced to resign.
“The way in which Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned was unacceptable,” he said.
The Lebanese president has not accepted Hariri’s resignation, amidst claims by Hezbollah that Saudi Arabia wants to “remove Hariri as prime minister and impose a new leadership on his political movement,” according to the BBC.
The Sunni prime minister has long opposed the Iran-backed Hezbollah. In his resignation speech, he said that “Iran and its followers [Hezbollah] 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.”
His damning accusations did not stop the group from defending him. “We condemn the blunt, bare-faced Saudi intervention in our domestic affairs,” Nasrallah said.
“Any offence to the Lebanese prime minister is an offence to all Lebanese, even when he is our adversary.”
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against Lebanon being used for a proxy war between the Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and the Shia majority Iran, saying that the US strongly backed Lebanon’s independence, according to the BBC.
On Thursday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said that he had informal contact with Hariri, while France’s foreign minister said France believed Hariri was able to move freely.
While in a surprise visit to Lebanon on Thursday night, Macron emphasized to Saudi leaders the importance of stability in Lebanon.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the regional crisis would have “devastating consequences.”