A supporter of Lebanon’s Shiite movement Hezbollah holds an image of Iran’s late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in the capital Beirut’s southern suburbs on February 6, 2019. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP/ Getty) Iran said on Sunday it would expand its ties with Lebanon in spite of the “provocative and interventionist” call by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Beirut to choose sides, Iranian state television reported. Reuters reports that on a regional tour to drum up support for Washington’s harder line against Tehran, Pompeo said on Friday that Lebanon faced a choice – “Bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation, or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi dismissed Pompeo’s remarks. “Because of the failure of its policies in the Middle East, America has turned to the outdated and disgraced weapon of threats and intimidation to impose its imperious policies on other countries,” Qasemi said, state television reported. “While respecting the independence of Lebanon and the free will of its government and nation, Iran will use all its capacities to strengthen unity inside Lebanon and also to expand its ties with Lebanon.” Read: With an eye on Iran, US to open yet another military base in the Middle East Hezbollah, whose influence has expanded at home and in the region, controls three of 30 ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number in its history. The dominant Shi’ite Muslim power Iran and Hezbollah, founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, are major players in the war in Syria and the fight against militant groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, which include Islamic State. Qasemi said that Lebanon’s Hezbollah was a legal and popular party. “How can Pompeo make such impudent and irrational remarks (about Hezbollah) while visiting Lebanon,” he said. Tensions between Tehran and Washington has increased since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers last May, and then reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further curb its nuclear programme and to end its ballistic missile work as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East. Sponsored Links . Housediver Remember Her? She Was Gorgeous In The 90’s Today She Looks Better Than EverHousediver Travelfuntu Remember Kate Jackson? Try Not To Smile When You See Her NowTravelfuntu HealthCentral.com 7 Sneaky Signs of Lung CancerHealthCentral.com MoneyPop 50 Of The Most Useless Cars Ever MadeMoneyPop Healthzap Boy Interrupts Judge During The Adoption Process And Reveals His Foster Parents’ SecretHealthzap Livestly Car Dealerships Don’t Want You Seeing This Trick To Make Your Car Last LongerLivestly

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