PHOTO: New Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Iran is continuing its campaign for political advantage in Lebanon, with a visit by Foreign Secretary Mohammad Javad Zarif to the new Lebanese President, Michel Aoun.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi confirmed on Friday:

To reassure Iran’s support of Lebanon…[Zarif] will travel to Lebanese capital city of Beirut next week.

Mr. Zarif will have bilateral meetings with the senior officials of Lebanon to renew consultations with discussing the latest developments of the region, Lebanon, and Syria.

Earlier, Lebanese newspapers had said that Zarif will meet Aoun to offer Iran’s congratulations.

Aoun was selected as President on Monday by the Lebanese Parliament, ending a two-year vacancy in the position. The veteran Christian politician, who was forced out of the Presidency in 1990 by Syrian troops, is now working with Iran’s ally Hezbollah.

In the compromise that ended the stalemate, Aoun asked Saad Hariri to form a new Government. Hariri was Prime Minister from 2009 to 2011. His father Rafik was Prime Minister from 2000 to October 2004. Four months later, he was assassinated in a bombing in which Hezbollah members are suspects.

President Rouhani quickly congratulated Aoun on Monday:

You have taken this responsibility in a very sensitive era; an era in which the region is facing two threats of growing Takfiri movements and terrorist groups, as well as the cupidity of the Zionist regime.

We are sure that your election will further strengthen the resistance front of Lebanon against these two threats.

The Supreme Leader’s top advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, hailed Aoun’s selection as “a victory for [Hezbollah Secretary General] Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”.

And Zarif tweeted: