Nasrallah says Khamenei heavily involved in establishment of Lebanon’s Hezbollah
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was heavily involved in the establishment of the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah, said Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the terrorist organization.
In a five-hour interview with Khamenei.ir, the supreme leader’s website, Nasrallah said that during “the early years of the establishment of [Lebanon’s Hezbollah organization], he [Khamenei] was involved in everything. The principles, goals, foundations, criteria, and guidelines that we had, [he] provided a solution to every issue.”
Hezbollah was founded in 1985 with the backing of Iran, which dispatched forces from its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to train and fund Lebanese Shiite militants during the Lebanese Civil War. The organization has since operated as an Iranian proxy and has been designated as a terrorist organization by actors including the US, UK, and the Arab League.
“The formation of this front [Hezbollah] coincided with the decision of [Khamenei’s predecessor] Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini to send IRGC forces to Syria and Lebanon to oppose and confront Israeli aggression,” claimed Nasrallah.
Since becoming Iran’s supreme leader in 1989, Khamenei continued Iran’s “support for the resistance in the region, especially in Lebanon, even in the face of changes within ministries and official entities in Iran as well as some differences in their political policies,’ Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah has headed Hezbollah since 1992, when his predecessor was assassinated by Israeli forces, and has maintained close relations with Iran under Khamenei.
According to Nasrallah, Khamenei was key in solving differences between Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement, a Lebanese political party associated with Lebanon’s Shiite community and currently led by Nabih Berri.
Amal and Hezbollah are key members of the “March 8” political coalition which supports the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. The two organizations previously competed for influence over the Lebanese Shiite community, but have since become close allies.
Nasrallah pointed to Khamenei’s role in bringing the two organizations together.
“[Khamenei] opposed any issue, any conflict or dispute among Lebanese groups and constantly stressed the need for extensive relations between them as well as achieving peace by any means necessary among them,” he said.
According to the Hezbollah leader, “the foundations of the close relations between Hezbollah and Amal that we see today were laid by the guidelines of [Khamenei], and today the relationship between Hezbollah and Amal is not strategic, but beyond strategic.”
On Sunday, Iran released a “never before seen” photograph of Nasrallah and Khamenei alongside the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani.