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Khatami in Lebanon Amid U.S. Pressure on Hizbollah

Cheering crowds greeted Iran’s President Mohammad Khatami in Beirut on Monday as he began a historic visit expected to deal with U.S. demands to curb Iranian-backed Hizbollah guerrillas. Khatami is the first Iranian leader since the 1979 Islamic revolution to visit Lebanon, which together with Syria, came under U.S. pressure last week to secure Hizbollah’s withdrawal from a border zone where it has clashed with Israeli troops. Lebanon’s president, prime minister and a Hizbollah delegation met Khatami at the airport and crowds waved the flags of Lebanon, Iran and Hizbollah, which used Iranian aid to fight Israel’s 22-year occupation of south Lebanon. Iran has long had hostile relations with Washington, but there are signs of a return to dialogue and analysts expect Khatami to press Hizbollah for even greater restraint in its conflict with Israel in the disputed Shebaa Farms border area. Full Story

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