Iran condemns EU’s blacklisting of Hezbollah


FM Ali Akbar Salehi calls EU decision ‘surprising and unacceptable’ while Syrian opposition group welcomes move as ‘step in the right direction’

Iran condemned on Tuesday the European Union’s decision to put Hezbollah’s armed wing on its terrorism blacklist and said the move was “contrary to all political and legal norms, surprising and unacceptable”.
Hezbollah was set up with the help of Iranian funds and military advisers some three decades ago and, along with Syria, is still Tehran’s most important ally in the region, positioned as it is on the “frontline” with Iran’s sworn enemy Israel.
Pressed by Britain and the Netherlands, the European Union blacklisted Hezbollah’s military wing on Monday over accusations it was involved in a bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and their driver a year ago, and its deployment of thousands of fighters to help Syrian President Bashar ssad turn the tide of Syria’s civil war.
“To label a resistance group which has campaigned against invasion and occupation and has a legal presence with the people’s support in the government of Lebanon shows it is based on loose logical foundations,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement on the ministry website.
“This action was accomplished with the direction of some influential members of the European Union and is contrary to all political and legal norms, surprising and unacceptable,” he said.
Israel, which welcomed the EU decision, would be the main beneficiary, the Iranian foreign minister said.
“This action will be to be benefit of the illegitimate Zionist regime and its supporters.”
Meanwhile, Syria’s main Western-backed opposition group has welcomed the decision, calling it a “step in the right direction.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Syrian National Coalition group also calls for leaders of the Lebanese Shiite militant group to be put on trial for their role in the Syrian war.
Hezbollah has sent its fighters to bolster President Bashar Assad’s forces in their assault on rebel-held areas in Syria.

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