Ahmadinejad at Israel-Lebanon border

By Jennifer Lipman, October 14, 2010
Hizbollah is a key influence in southern Lebanon

Hizbollah is a key influence in southern Lebanon

Israeli officials have criticised a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon's border with Israel.

Mr Ahmadinejad addressed thousands at a stadium in Bin Jbeil on Lebanon’s southern border, an area of the country where Tehran-backed terrorist organisation hizbollah is a key influence.

Bin Jbeil lies two miles from Israel and was the site of a victory speech by Hizbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah in 2000 when Israeli troops exited southern Lebanon.

Mr Ahmadinejad told the crowd: “The world should know the Zionists are mortal. Today the Lebanese nation is alive and is a role model for regional nations.”

He also praised "Lebanon's resistance to the Jewish state".

Benjmain Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, said: "Unfortunately, Lebanon is rapidly turning into a satellite of the ayatollahs' regime.

"This is tragic for Lebanon, but Israel will know how to defend itself against such developments."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: "It is quite clear that he is the bearer of a violent message. He comes to a highly volatile region with the intention to play with fire."

Mr Palmor also said the visit is a sign of Hizbollah’s increasing influence in.

"It seems that after he stole votes in Teheran, he is now coming here to steal the whole country.”

The Iranian leader was given an honorary doctorate in political sciences from the Lebanese University in Beirut

Government spokesman Mark Regev said Ahmadinejad’s involvement in internal Lebanese politics has turned the country into “an Iranian satellite”

"Iran's domination of Lebanon through its proxy Hizbollah has destroyed any chance for peace and made Lebanon a hub for regional terror and instability."

Reports suggested that Sheik Nasrallah presented Mr Ahmadinejad with an Israeli rifle seized during the Second Lebanon War.

Last updated: 9:55am, October 15 2010