Lebanese premier to visit Iran Saturday amid tribunal tension
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is due to pay an official visit to Tehran on November 27, amid tension in the country regarding an investigation into his father's 2005 assassination, a Lebanese government source said Monday, dpa reported
The visit comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon on October 13, where he received a hero's welcome from his allies, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah - Hariri's rivals on the Lebanese political arena.
Hariri is due to head a large delegation in his two-day visit to Iran.
Iran, along with Syria, provides Hezbollah with finances, weaponry and training.
News of Hariri's visit coincided with speculation in Beirut that the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is probing the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, is due to issue its indictment next month.
Tension has been mounting in Lebanon in anticipation of the STL indictment, especially over speculation that it will finger eight Hezbollah members of carrying out the assassination.
In a speech on November 11, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that his party will "cut off the hand" of anyone who tries to arrest any of its members in the case.
Canadian television broadcaster CBC, in a report due to be aired Tuesday, is expected to reveal that "Telecommunications evidence gathered by Lebanese police and UN investigators points overwhelmingly to the fact that an eight-member hit squad backed by Hezbollah was behind Hariri's 2005 assassination."
The report gives the names of the Hezbollah members in question.
The report also cites "interviews with multiple sources from inside the UN inquiry and some of the commission's own records," including cell phone and other telecommunications evidence that Hezbollah is at the core of the case."
Hariri's assassination has caused an international and local outcry, and led the UN to establish the STL in 2007 to try suspects in the assassination of Hariri