Iran is ready to give Lebanon military equipment, such as an air-defense system, to support its armed resistance against Israel, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, and in particular Ayatollah Khamenei, will not hold back on anything that will help Lebanon be a strong and dignified state, and without conditions," Nasrallah said.
"So far, Lebanon has not requested arms and Iran will not offer them unless asked," he said in a televised address to mark the ninth anniversary of Israel's troop withdrawal from southern Lebanon after 22 years.
"But Iran will help any Lebanese government that requests military aid," he told a crowd of thousands gathered in the eastern Lebanon Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek.
U.S. aid to Lebanese army
Nasrallah also dismissed as farcical U.S. aid to the Lebanese army, which amounts to close to $0.5 billion in training and armament but does not include anti-aircraft defense.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Lebanon last week, where he inspected an array of military equipment, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters that he said were part of the U.S. military assistance to Lebanon.
"We believe it's crucial that you be able to do your mission to defend the state and citizens of Lebanon," Biden said, standing next to Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr.
"One army, one armed group, one police power, one capability to control your own country," he added, in an apparent swipe at Hezbollah, the only armed Lebanese faction.
Biden and Murr noted that the United States had committed to provide further training and assistance to the Lebanese armed forces over the next five years.
U.S. military assistance has totaled more than $410 million since 2006 and includes aircraft, tanks, artillery and training.
Nasrallah urged his supporters to vote for his Hezbollah-led opposition alliance in the June 7 parliamentary election, saying his coalition would ensure the army was well-equipped to defend Lebanon against Israel.
"Air defense systems are necessary for the army to face Israel," he said.
"Who can secure these weapons for Lebanon? Vote for the opposition and I will point you in that direction," he said in an apparent reference to Iran which backs the Hezbollah-led opposition alliance.
The June election will pit the Sunni-led Western-backed parliamentary majority against the Hezbollah-led alliance, which is also supported by Syria.