Tehranthrew all its weight behind Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah ahead of his contentious speech Monday, Aug. 9, by declaring that "Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan are Iran's security belt," and sending its National Security Council Director Saeed Jalili, who is also lead nuclear negotiator, to Beirut Sunday to strengthen his hand. This is reported by debkafile's Iranian sources.
Upon arrival, the NSC head went into conference with Nasrallah and the spiritual leader's special aide Ali Akbar Velayati, who arrived in Beirut last Thursday, Aug. 5 after the Lebanese-Israeli border clash, and is still there.
Jalilee then took off for Damascus to give Syrian president Bashar Assad a piece of his mind. According to our sources, in a conversation that went on till early Monday, the Iranian official made it clear that Tehran would not tolerate the deal Assad concluded with Saudi king Abdullah to pull away from - or even reduce - Syrian relations with Hizballah.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has clearly taken charge of the Lebanese situation. He is maintaining control through two top officials kept standing by in Beirut and Damascus as Nasrallah prepares to accuse Israel of assassinating Rafiq Hariri, four-time prime minister of Lebanon, in February 2005.
This is the gambit Nasrallah is using to blackmail the Hariri government by a threat of civil war and/or a military confrontation with Israel into disbanding the UN special tribunal and so avoid surrendering indicted Hizballah leaders to the court.
 With Tehran ranged solidly behind him at the highest level, the Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian war planners have put their armies, along with Hzballah, on the ready for trouble.
Iran made sure border tensions remained high after Lebanese army snipers killed an Israeli officer in a clash last Tuesday, Aug. 5.  As debkafile reported at the time, a group of Iranian intelligence and commando officers Friday openly toured the South Lebanese-Israeli borders and studied Israeli positions, making sure they were seen on the Israeli side.
They are still present at Hizballah's forward positions.
Sunday, Lebanese foreign minister Ali Al-Shami flew to Tehran to appeal for help in toning down the ultimatum posed by Nasrallah for Prime Minister Saad Hariri to disband the special tribunal established by the UN and Lebanon to probe his father's murder and instead accuse Israel before the UN Security Council. Al-Shami maintained that this move would break up Lebanon's unity government and open the gates to a recurrence of civil warfare and fighting with Israel.
His appeal to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fell on deaf ears. Instead, Jalilee was put on a special plane to Beirut to strengthen the Hizballah leader's hand. This was clear from his remark: "The power of resistance and unity of the Lebanese Army does not let the Zionist regime to even cut a tree. Earlier, the Zionist regime could advance to the borders of Beirut fearlessly. Today the Zionist army gets a strong response from Islamic Resistance…"
His words meant that, for Tehran, the Lebanese Army's 9th Battalion is no longer a separate, autonomous entity but integral to Hizballah and a partner in its radical mission.