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Lebanon's Hariri asks Iran not to hide suspects involved in his father's killing

(Xinhua)

13:37, August 17, 2011

BEIRUT, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday he hopes Iran was not hosting the four men accused of plotting his father's assassination in 2005.

In a statement released by his media office, Hariri criticized Iran's remarks earlier Tuesday that the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is probing his father's assassination, was politicized.

The court, which is probing the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, issued an indictment on June 30 implicating four members of Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah.

"Everyone in the world knows the relationship between Hezbollah and Iran," said Hariri. "Iran's position regarding the tribunal is another example of the state of osmosis between the two parties, a reality that, we hope, has not yet reached the level of participating in hosting persons sought by international justice."

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast accused the Netherlands-based court of having political motives and said it had no legal status.

Mehmanparast spoke after the German daily Der Spiegel reported that Iran might be involved in the assassination of the late Lebanese statesman.

Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah, who dismissed the court's accusations, described the STL as an American-Israeli tool and questioned its credibility. In his latest speech, Nasrallah said that the four suspects would never be arrested.

In his statement, Saad Hariri said that Iran's position is "an exact replica" of Hezbollah's stance, and aimed at preventing the tribunal from achieving its goals.

The Lebanese government dominated by Hezbollah informed the STL last week that it failed to apprehend the four suspects.

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