Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Monday, as it prepares to issue widely anticipated indictments against Hezbollah members for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"This court is a kangaroo court and every verdict it issues is rejected," Ayatollah Khamenei said during a meeting with the leader of Qatar, according to state media. "We hope influential sides in Lebanon will act prudently, so the issue will not be turned into a problem."
The tribunal, which was established in March 2006 by the U.N. Security Council, is expected to release its findings by the end of the month following years of delay and false starts.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of Rafik Hariri, has been working feverishly to prevent any Hezbollah indictments from plunging the country back into civil war. Last month, he took a trip to Iran to seek Tehran's help in pacifying its Lebanese Shi'ite proxy.
Hezbollah accuses Israel of assassinating Mr. Hariri and calls the tribunal a U.S.-Israeli plot, and reportedly has made contingency plans to launch a coup against the Hariri government.
Iran supplies Hezbollah weapons and the bulk of its funding, though the subsidies reportedly have been cut by as much as 40 percent due to the impact of international sanctions on the Iranian economy.
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