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Iran says Beirut blast should not be politicised

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday that countries should refrain from politicising the massive blast in Beirut last week, and that the United States should lift sanctions against Lebanon.

“The blast should not be used as an excuse for political aims … the cause of the blast should be investigated carefully,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a televised news conference.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut’s shattered streets on Thursday, two days after the chemical explosion in the dock area, as crowds demanded an end to decades of corrupt politics of patronage.

Asked about the visit, Mousavi said: “Some countries have been trying to politicise this blast for their own interests.”

Macron told an emergency donor conference on Sunday that donors would watch closely how the aid was spent.

Iran backs Hezbollah, the armed Shi’ite Muslim group that is among Lebanon’s most powerful political forces, which Washington considers a terrorist group and penalises with sanctions.

Mousavi also said that “if America is honest about its assistance offer to Lebanon, they should lift sanctions”.

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