TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “Lebanon is heading towards asking foreign and Arab states to put pressure on Saudi to release Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri,” Reuters quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying on Thursday.
The official noted that Hariri was still Lebanon’s prime minister, adding, “Keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh is an attack on Lebanese sovereignty. Our dignity is his dignity. We will work with (foreign) states to return him to Beirut.”
Although Saudi Arabia and Hariri aides have dismissed reports that he is under house arrest, Hariri himself has issued no statements yet to deny the mentioned restrictions.
In a Saturday live broadcast from an undisclosed location in Saudi Arabia, Hariri resigned as Lebanon’s premier the post was no longer tenable for him due to what he called intervention by Lebanese resistant movement Hezbollah and Iran
Both Iran and Hezbollah have categorically denied the allegations. Hariri also said that he sensed a plot being hatched against his life. Lebanese intelligence and security authorities have denied there was any plot to assassinate Hariri.
The shock resignation took almost everyone by surprise in Lebanon while it sparked various reactions across the Middle East and in the West.
Press TV’s correspondent in Beirut cited Lebanese journalist Ibrahim al-Amin as saying that Saad Hariri’s personal bodyguard has returned to Beirut and was interrogated by the Lebanese authorities.
During the questioning, the bodyguard reportedly confirmed that Hariri is detained and does not have freedom of movement.
Earlier, Amin had cited his “secret sources” as saying that the Lebanese officials have asked France and other foreign officials to mediate the release of Hariri, but the efforts have been to no avail.
Saudi officials have reportedly given Hariri two options: One: return to Beirut, but take a constant aggressive stance against Hezbollah and any government Hezbollah partakes in. Two: going to exile to anywhere in Europe, keep silent and leave politics for good.
Reports also say the Saudis are trying to put his brother Bahaa Hariri as the leader of the Future Movement in Lebanon and the new “man of Saudi Arabia” in Lebanon.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced on Wednesday that the country’s government will continue to function despite Hariri’s resignation. President Michel Aoun also said that he is still waiting for Hariri to return and submit his resignation.
Hariri, the son of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who was killed in a Beirut bombing in 2005, ascended to the post of premiership after he reached a deal with Aoun, a figure close to Hezbollah, last year.
Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the premier should be a Sunni Muslim, the president has to be picked from the country’s Christians and the role of the speaker of the parliament should go to Shia Muslims.