Lebanon PM to visit Iran amid tensions over UN Hariri report
Canadian media says UN tribunal investigating the killing of former PM, and current premier's father, has implicated Iran-backed Hezbollah in the assassination.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is due to pay an official visit to Tehran on Saturday, amid tension in the country regarding an investigation into his father's 2005 assassination, a Lebanese government source said Monday.
The visit comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon on October 13, where he received a hero's welcome from his allies, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah - Hariri's rivals on the Lebanese political arena.
Hariri is due to head a large delegation in his two-day visit to Iran.
Iran, along with Syria, provides Hezbollah with finances, weaponry and training.
News of Hariri's visit coincided with speculation in Beirut that the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is probing the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, is due to issue its indictment next month.
An investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp published Sunday claimed that UN investigators and a Lebanese police officer have unearthed evidence implicating Iran-backed Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination.
The report by CBC News details a months-long investigation which links Hezbollah to the Hariri murder, and faults the United Nations for having key information on the case which it failed to pursue further.
According to the report, the UN International Independent Investigation Commission's findings are based on an extensive examination of Lebanese phone records.
According to a phone analysis by Lebanese and UN investigators, the records suggest that Hezbollah officials were in frequent contact with the owners of the cell phones that were allegedly used to coordinate the bomb detonation that killed Hariri.