Following his visit to Beirut, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that all the Lebanese authorities he met believed in the importance of keeping the political power of their country out of the Islamic Republic of Iran's "meddlesome" hands.
Pompeo visited Lebanon on Friday, March 22, after traveling to Kuwait and Israel.
During the visit, he met with the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the speaker of the parliament Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and Joseph Aoun Chief Commander of the Army.
Meanwhile, according to the State Department's website, in an interview with Alain Dargham of MTV, Pompeo insisted, "I think they (Lebanese authorities) all understand the importance of keeping the political power out of the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s been a consistent theme, something each leader I’ve spoken with has talked about."
Referring to some sources mentioning that Pompeo was not happy after his meeting with Bassil, Dargham inquired, "What happened exactly?"
Secretary Pompeo immediately said, "Oh, I don’t know who those folks are. We had a fine meeting. We had a conversation like all of my conversations yesterday that was very frank, that was very candid. That’s what friends do: they talk about how to move forward, how to work together."
Earlier in Lebanon, Pompeo had asserted that "Hezbollah is merely a terrorist group" that has been launched and financed by the Islamic Republic of Iran" aimed at "annihilating Israel, and even destroying Western Democracies, including the United States'."
Furthermore, Pompeo maintained that Hezbollah is a threat for all people of Lebanon, including Christians and Muslims.
"Lebanon and the Lebanese people face a choice: bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future," he said during a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil.
"The U.S. will continue to use all peaceful means, everything at our disposal to choke off the financing, the smuggling, the criminal network and the misuse of government positions and influence," by Hezbollah, he said.