Iran’s foreign minister accused President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner of being responsible for the surprise resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister over the weekend, a move that further fueled the regional rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh, and may have resulted in a ballistic missile being fired – and intercepted – near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
As reported on Saturday, Saad Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation while visiting Riyadh, where he accused Saudi nemesis Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah of having a "grip” on Lebanon. He also said he feared for his life.
In response, the Iranian foreign minister said the US and Saudi Arabia were responsible for Hariri’s resignation, claiming on twitter that the move was meant to sow tension in Lebanon and the Middle East, the The Times of Israel first reported.
"Visits by Kushner & Lebanese PM led to [Saad] Hariri’s bizarre resignation while abroad,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. "Of course, Iran is accused of interference.”
Addressing Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war, Zarif accused the kingdom of bombing Yemen "to smithereens, killing 1000’s of innocents including babies.” He also said Saudi Arabia "spreads cholera and famine” in its southern neighbor. The Iranian foreign minister also accused Saudi Arabia of "regional bullying” and destabilizing the Middle East, while trying to pin the blame on Iran. "KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilizing behavior & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences,” he said.
Zarif did not say how Kushner allegedly helped orchestrate Hariri’s decision to step down.
Kushner visited Saudi Arabia in October as part of a four-day trip to the region that also included stops in Israel, Jordan and Egypt, Politico reported last week. On Sunday, the Washington Post added some more detail: