Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday announced his resignation, according to the official Lebanese news agency.
In a televised address from Saudi Arabia, Hariri criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, accusing Tehran of planting “sedition” and meddling in Arab affairs.
Hariri attributed his surprise resignation to what he described as Iranian attempts to impose its hegemony on Lebanon.
“I tell Iran and its followers that they will lose,” he said. “The hands that send evil to the Arab states will be cut off and evil will go back to their people.”
Hariri accused Hezbollah of using its weapons to impose a “fait accompli” in Lebanon.
“Over the past decades, Hezbollah has used its weapons against the Lebanese and Syrians to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon,” he said, reiterating his rejection of using Lebanon as a platform “to threaten the security of the region”.
Hariri said the atmosphere in Lebanon is quite similar to the period leading up to the assassination of his father, Rafiq Hariri, in 2005.
“I announce my resignation as a prime minister,” he said. “I’m confident that the will of the Lebanese is stronger and they will be able to defeat hegemony from inside and outside,” he said.
Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016, leading a 30-member government that included Hezbollah.
His resignation came one day after he arrived in Riyadh for his second visit to the oil-rich kingdom in less than a week.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional arch foes. While Riyadh supports the Syrian opposition, Iran and Hezbollah are main backers of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime.