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Iran says resignation of Lebanese PM will create tension in region

Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns

"Hariri, who had just came back from his trip to Saudi Arabia, held talks with the Iranian envoy in Beirut and immediately left the Lebanese capital for Riyadh to announce his resignation through Saudi media", the source said.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is set to address Hariri's resignation in a speech on Sunday, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV reported.

Lebanon's president, Michel Aoun, said he spoke with Hariri by phone after the speech Saturday and, as the AP reports, he planned to work out the terms of the resignation following Hariri's return from Saudi Arabia.

He criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, accusing Tehran of planting "sedition" and meddling in Arab affairs.

Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016, leading a 30-member government that included Hezbollah.

Lebanon is politically divided, with one camp supporting Hariri, a Sunni Muslim closely allied with regional Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, and the other favoring Hezbollah, which has controversially deployed many of its fighters into neighboring Syria to support President Bashar Assad. He could not have formed a government without the group, which operates its own militia freely in Lebanon.

Hariri allies in Lebanon have denied suggestions that he had been detained.

Having Lebanon plunged in chaos and instability can only exacerbate an already messy regional scene. According to the Lebanese constitution, the Prime Minister of Lebanon must be a Sunni Muslim, the President a Christian, and the chairman of the parliament a Shiite Muslim.

In this February 14, 2005, file photo, vehicles burn following a massive bomb attack that tore through the motorcade of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon.

His father, Rafik al-Hariri, was prime minister after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war and was assassinated in a vehicle bombing in 2005.

Manama has declared Hezbollah a terrorist group and repeatedly accused it of involvement in violent attacks in the kingdom.

Hariri's death was followed by a series of assassinations against Hezbollah opponents.

A Saudi minister said on Saturday that Mr Hariri's personal security detail had "confirmed information" about the plot. This is an indication that the resignation was designed to create tension in Lebanon and the region.