Iran offers cooperation on Israel-Hizbollah truce


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Iran offers cooperation on Israel-Hizbollah truce
By Alireza Ronaghi
Sat Sep 2, 12:48 PM ET

Iran's Foreign Minister offered U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan his country's 
full cooperation over a Security Council resolution on the truce between Israel 
and Hizbollah, a U.N. spokesman said on Saturday.

Iran is widely believed to be the main arms supplier for Hizbollah in Lebanon. 
Although Iran funded and armed Hizbollah in the 1980s, it now says its support 
is primarily moral and political.

"He (Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki) concluded by saying that we can count 
on his full cooperation" over resolution 1701, U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said 
after talks between Annan and Mottaki in Tehran.

Annan met the Iranian minister to seek help in shoring up the Hizbollah-Israel 
ceasefire and also discussed Tehran's nuclear standoff with the West.

Fawzi said Annan had also held a telephone conversation with Iranian President 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prior to the Iran visit.

"(Ahmadinejad) had told him that while he had some reservations over some 
articles in the resolution, he would nevertheless cooperate in its 
implementation," Fawzi said, without giving details about Iran's reservations.

The U.N. resolution called for a truce and a U.N. peacekeeping force to help the
Lebanese army supervise the pull-out of Israeli troops after 34 days of fighting
between Israel and Hizbollah guerillas.

Fawzi said the discussed paragraph 15 of the resolution, referring to a ban on 
illegal arms shipments to Lebanon, but gave no details.

Annan arrived in the Iranian capital two days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog, 
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported that Tehran had failed 
to meet the U.N. Security Council's August 31 deadline to halt uranium 

Some analysts say Iran may have been emboldened in its nuclear standoff by the 
Lebanon conflict, which Tehran declared a victory for its ally Hizbollah.


Iran insists its atomic plans are directed at generating electricity but the 
West says it wants to build nuclear bombs.

After Mottaki, Annan held talks with Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear 
negotiator. The U.N. chief is also due to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 

"I have just had very good and constructive discussions with Mr. Larijani. As 
you can imagine we discussed the nuclear issue and many other issues of concern 
to Iran and to the United Nations," Annan said after his meeting.

"I found the discussion helpful and will come in handy as I move ahead with my 
work," he said in comments relayed to Reuters by Fawzi.

Annan may also seek Iran's help in securing the release of two Israeli soldiers 
seized by Hizbollah in a July 12 cross-border raid that sparked the war that 
killed more than 1,300 people, mostly Lebanese civilians.

Annan has already visited Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Qatar on this trip. In 
Damascus, Annan said Syria promised to enforce the arms embargo on Hizbollah.

Last November, Annan canceled a trip to Tehran in response to a call by 
Ahmadinejad that Israel "be wiped off the map."

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to give diplomacy two more 
weeks to clarify Iran's nuclear stance.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet Larijani in Europe early next 
week to try to clear up ambiguities in Tehran's 21-page reply to a major power 
offer of cooperation if it stops work that could be used to develop a nuclear 

About 800 Italian troops had arrived off Lebanon on Saturday from 3,000 pledged 
by Italy, an Italian navy spokesman said. More than 250 marines had landed by 
midday, gathering at a beach hotel guarded by Lebanese troops and U.N. 

The U.N. plans to increase the existing 2,000 peacekeepers in Lebanon to 15,000 
to help enforce the ceasefire. Italy's contingent will be the biggest in the 
force, known as UNIFIL II.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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