Jumblat to Nasrallah: If Iran isn't Blocking Presidential Polls, Why Hasn't Quorum Been Met at Parliament?
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat questioned on Saturday the criticism that was indirectly addressed to him by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for his recent “sarcastic remarks on Iran's democracy,” saying that “based on the several meetings I have held with him, I recall that he has a political sense of humor.”
He said in his weekly editorial in the PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa website: “I was therefore suprised at the reactions that were made over marginal comments I made over the Islamic Republic and its role in obstructing Lebanon's presidential elections.”
“If Iran was indeed not hindering the elections, as you are claiming, then any citizen has the right to ask what are the real reasons for the lack of quorum at electoral sessions?” he asked in an indirect reference to Nasrallah.
He noted that this question holds more significance now that both presidential candidates are members of the March 8 alliance.
Nasrallah deemed on Friday as a political victory the fact that MPs Michel Aoun and Suleiman Franjieh, both members of the alliance, are running for the presidency.
“Wasn't it Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdul Lahyan that his country would back any agreement made among the Lebanese over the elections?” Jumblat asked.
“Perhaps these sides are seeking to follow the Iranian example and demand that the results of the elections be guaranteed in advance before ensuring quorum at the electoral session,” he continued.
“This means determining the results and later holding a symbolic and superficial vote similar to the several democratic councils in Tehran,” he added.
“We raised several question marks over the indirect democracy in Iran due to its numerous Shura councils, various regime committees, and its republican guard, of course, because we do not want the Lebanese democracy, despite its weakness, to transform into the Iranian one,” he noted.
“Needless to say that Lebanon's political and economic capabilities do not match Iran's, which has seen the West open its doors to it to strike deals worth billions of dollars,” the PSP chief said.
“I'd like to add a reminder that the council of diagnosing the regime – excuse me, I mean national dialogue – was the side that unanimously tasked Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb to find a solution to the garbage crisis,” he continued.
“Criticizing Iran and some its positions, similar to criticizing the United States, Russia, or Europe at certain times, is not aimed at fueling political spite, as some have said, but it is part of democracy and freedom of expression, which Hizbullah undoubtedly understands and highly values,” Jumblat stressed.
Nasrallah said during a speech on Friday: “Iran has stressed that the presidential issue is a domestic affair and that it would support what the Lebanese would agree on.”
“As for the issue of Iranian democracy, Iran has organized more than 35 elections in the past 37 years and the polls were never suspended, despite the wars and bombing. But we in Lebanon are searching for any excuse to postpone the elections and we don't have a constitutional authority to address the differences,” he noted.
“The Expediency Discernment Council has granted Iran what it was aspiring for at the political, industrial, military and technological levels,” he stated.