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Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia forced Lebanese PM to resign

Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia forced Lebanese PM to resign

Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation Saturday, accusing his adversaries of political interference and citing a fear that he, like his father before him, would become the target of an assassination plot.

Lebanon's president, Michel Aoun, said he spoke with Hariri by phone after the speech Saturday and, as the AP reports, he planned to work out the terms of the resignation following Hariri's return from Saudi Arabia.

The 47-year-old Sunni politician's resignation comes less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah's political wing belongs, was formed.

Al-Sabhan met with Hariri in Saudi Arabia when the now resigned prime minister was visiting earlier this week.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun will not accept Hariri's resignation until he returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons, palace sources said on Sunday, delaying for now the politically hard consultations over his successor.

A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry denied the "unfounded accusations" made by Hariri on Saturday, saying the move was meant to stir up tensions in Lebanon and was pushed for by US President Donald Trump and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. "The resignation of al-Hariri and his comments on Iran are a wake-up call to the global community to act against Iran, which is trying to turn Syria into a second Lebanon".

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom's most prominent businessmen.

The Saudi-owned daily also said Hariri believed he was being used as a cover by Iran and Hezbollah to "lead the country towards great adventures where he will be a pawn to cover up their actions".

Al-Hariri placed the blame squarely on Iran and Hezbollah.

In Lebanon's sectarian system the president must be a Maronite Catholic, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of parliament a Shi'ite.

Having Lebanon plunged in chaos and instability can only exacerbate an already messy regional scene.

His father, Rafik al-Hariri, was prime minister after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war and was assassinated in a vehicle bombing in 2005.

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