Hezbollah's secretary-general castigated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for claiming that Iran controls Lebanon's new government through his group.
The new Lebanese government consists of political forces, and Hezbollah is part of this formation, Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech, stressing it is not controlled by Hezbollah.
His remarks came in response to an allegation made by Netanyahu on Sunday. "Iran has proxies. One of them is Hezbollah. Hezbollah just joined the government of Lebanon. That's a misnomer; they actually control the government of Lebanon. It means that Iran controls the government of Lebanon," said Netanyahu, speaking to a delegation of 40 ambassadors to the United Nations before they headed to Israel's northern border to inspect one of Hezbollah's cross-border tunnels.
Lebanese political factions agreed late Thursday to form a new government, breaking a nine-month deadlock that only deepened the country' economic woes. Rival political groups had been locked in disagreement over the make-up of a new government since May, after the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years. Lebanon's powerful Shiite group Hezbollah made significant gains at the expense of the largest Sunni party, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, further contributing to traditional horse trading among rival factions to form governments in Lebanon.