0814 GMT April 20, 2019
“This British measure signifies deliberately ignoring a large part of the Lebanese people and the legitimacy and the legal position of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s administrative and political structure,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.
“In addition to ... helping preserve Lebanon’s territorial integrity over recent decades, Hezbollah has been one of the pillars of the fight against terrorism and terrorist groups such as Daesh in the region,” Qassemi added.
Britain said on Monday it planned to ban all wings of Hezbollah, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the US, due to its destabilizing influence in the Middle East, having previously proscribed its external security unit and its military wing.
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the British government will designate the entire Hezbollah organization as a terrorist entity as of Friday, subject to the approval of Parliament.
Israel swiftly welcomed Javid’s announcement with Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan saying in a tweet that the European Union, which unlike the United States has opposed designation of Hezbollah as terrorist entity, should follow suit.
Qassemi denounced Britain’s move as a “mistake”, saying such measures won’t harm Hezbollah’s resolve to fight “terrorism and Zionism.”
Long the most powerful group in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s influence has expanded at home and in the region. It has three of 30 ministries in the government led by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number ever.
Hezbollah, founded in 1982 is a major player in the war in Syria and the fight against terrorist groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, which include Daesh.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.