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Middle East

Iranian leader visits Lebanon amid political turmoil

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-10-13

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday for a controversial two-day visit that will take him to the country's south, a region dominated by Iran's ally Hezbollah.

AP - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has begun his first state visit to Lebanon, giving a strong show of support to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and stirring up the country's tumultous political divides.

Thousands of Lebanese _ mostly Hezbollah backers _ are lining the main highway into the capital from Beirut's airport, where Ahmadinejad arrived Wednesday. Loudspeakers blasted songs as women sold Hezbollah flags and balloons to onlookers.

Iran is the most powerful ally of Hezbollah, which holds widespread support among Lebanon's Shiites and boasts the country's strongest military force. But Ahmadinejad's visit has sparked concern among Western-backed factions locked in a political struggle with Hezbollah over the direction of the country.

Date created : 2010-10-12

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