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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:29, July 29, 2006
Iran again denies offering military support to Hezbollah
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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi Friday denied again accusations that Iran had offered military and financial support to Lebanese Hezbollah guerilla in its battle with Israel, the state-run television reported.

"Iran's support to Hezbollah is humanitarian, political and diplomatic support, it's open and we have nothing to hide," Asefi was quoted as saying.

"We would have announced if there was military support," he added.

"Israel knows they would have been defeated much sooner if we provided military support to Hezbollah," the spokesman stressed.

Asefi's comments came one day after U.S. President George W. Bush sternly criticized Iran's role in the conflict.

On Thursday, Bush claimed that Iran had ties with Hezbollah, saying "it's time for the world to face the danger." John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also called Iran Hezbollah's "paymasters," saying he estimates Iran gives 100 million U.S. dollars to Hezbollah annually.

Iran has repeatedly said that it had never provided military and financial support to Hezbollah. Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, has said that his country would not enter the current crisis in Lebanon militarily, but vowing to continue diplomatic and political support for the conflict-ravaged country.

Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said that Iran would not dispatch its forces to enter the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, instead it favored "legal and diplomatic" solutions.

Israel launched a massive bombardment and limited ground assault on Lebanese Hezbollah after the Shiite militant group abducted two Israeli soldiers on July 12.

More than 400 Lebanese and over 50 Israelis have been killed in the conflict so far.

Source: Xinhua

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