BEIRUT: In a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri demanded Tuesday the release of Lebanese national Nizar Zakka who's been held by the Islamic Republic since 2015.
Hariri delivered the letter during his meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad-Jalal Firouznia, who threw his support behind "Lebanon and the premier."
"We support all efforts to accelerate the formation of a new Lebanese Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Hariri," he said, adding that Lebanon and Iran have "long shared mutual economic and political interests."
Firouznia then took aim at the US, accusing them of "preaching security, stability, and prosperity to the region yet their actions prove otherwise."
"Prosperity in the Middle East will be achieved once the US withdraws from Syria and they cease their support to Israel," he said.
On Monday, a senior US official said that his government will step up efforts to counter Iran’s “dangerous activities” around the region including the financing and activities of proxy organizations such as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Zakka, a U.S permanent resident, was sentenced to 10 years in prison over spying allegations following his swift arrest in Iran.
Zakka was an advocate for internet freedom and worked for a non-profit group that did work for the U.S government, with his arrest coming in the midst of a wide government crackdown on individuals with foreign ties.
U.S officials have declined to acknowledge his work with the U.S government, while Lebanese officials claim that its the former government's responsibility to provide consular assistance to Zakka.
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