Iran’s foreign minister against Israel-Hezbollah conflict

He also accused the United States, without naming it, of complicity in bringing about the death and destruction caused by Israel's 20-day-old offensive in Lebanon.

He arrived in Lebanon on Monday, in the first visit by an Iranian official to war-torn Lebanon since fighting broke out between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas three weeks ago. He traveled over land from neighboring Syria, since the country's only international airport was bombed in the first days of the war.

On Monday night, Mottaki met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh and with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who was in Beirut for the third time since Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12 - triggering the Israeli offensive that has killed hundreds of people, mostly civilians.

Both meetings took place at the Iranian Embassy late Monday, but participants made no comments to the press.

Mottaki's visit coincided with a call on Muslim states by a top Iranian hard-line cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, to provide weapons to Hezbollah to use in its fight against Israel, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.

It was not immediately clear if Jannati's comments represented the Iranian government. Jannati is the head of the powerful Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog arbitrating between the parliament and the Iranian government.

It was not immediately known if Mottaki planned to meet Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, as he traditionally has done on past visits to Lebanon.

Nasrallah has gone underground since the Hezbollah-Israeli fighting broke out three weeks ago. Israeli warplanes have destroyed his residence and office in south Beirut, but he has since given televised speeches.

Mottaki's visit comes a day after Israeli warplanes bombed a house in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, killing at least 56 civilians and provoking worldwide condemnation.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team