Iran dismisses Egypt's Hezbollah claims as 'old trick'

Iran dismissed on Wednesday Egyptian accusations against Lebanon’s Shi’ite militia Hezbollah as an “old trick” aimed at influencing the Lebanese election this year, new agencies reported.

“Labels against ... Hezbollah and [its chief] Hassan Nasrallah are an old and frayed trick and will not achieve anything,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

Mottaki was reacting to Egypt’s announcement it had arrested a Hezbollah cell accused of plotting attacks in the country and accused Iran of using the Shi’ite group to gain a foothold in Egypt.

Mottaki also accused Iran’s arch-foe Israel and “hands from outside the region” of seeking to “create problems” in Lebanon’s parliamentary election to be held in June.

“The Zionist regime will not succeed in this political plot,” he said.

Nasrallah said on Friday that one of the men arrested was a Hezbollah agent charged with transporting weapons to Palestinian militants in Gaza but he denied the cell planned to carry out attacks in Egypt.

Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, is a vocal supporter of Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, and has lashed out at Egypt for closing its border crossing with the Palestinian enclave.

Regional heavyweights Egypt and Iran broke off diplomatic relations a year after Islamist revolutionaries overthrew the pro-Western Shah of Iran in 1979.—AFP


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