Iran rejects Hariri tribunal verdict in advance

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader has rejected any ruling by a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri even before the verdict has been issued.

The tribunal based in the Netherlands is expected to imminently indict members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah – one of Iran’s major allies in the Middle East. The Shiite militant group controls a military force that is more powerful than Lebanon’s national army and it is also part of the country’s fragile governing coalition.

“This tribunal is a rubber stamp court,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran. “Any verdict it may issue is null and void,” state television quoted him as saying on Monday. “I hope the influential parties involved in Lebanon will act based on wisdom and logic so that this issue doesn’t turn into a problem.”

He spoke during a meeting with Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Monday, state television reported.

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