Ebrahim Raisi, associate of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who recently was apparently designated his heir, was photographed on a January 30, 2018 tour of the Lebanon-Israel border, accompanied by senior Iranian and Hizbullah officials. In the photographs, the officials' faces are blurred.
Raisi, an Assembly of Experts member who lost in his presidential run against incumbent Hassan Rohani in the May 2017 election, is a senior member of the ideological camp. He has served in top roles in the Iranian judicial system, including as prosecutor-general (2014-2016), Supreme Court vice president (2004-2014), and Tehran prosecutor-general. He heads the influential charity organization Astan-e Qods Razavi, and is imam of the Reza mosque in Mashhad.
On January 26, 2018, Raisi arrived in Syria for a visit, and on January 28, he went to Lebanon, where he met with Hizbullah officials, including Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, and other Shi'ite officials such as Lebanese parliamentary speaker and Amal movement head Nabih Berri.
During a January 30 tour of the Lebanon-Israel border, Raisi told Hizbullah fighters: "We see today the influence of Hizbullah across the Islamic countries. The Palestinian forces have been filled with hope by these [arenas of] fighting. Thanks to the resistance movement, Palestine has so far succeeded in withstanding Israel, and they [the Palestinians] have learned that it is fighting and steadfastness, not the negotiating tables, that determine the fate of their country. Hizbullah's fighting and efforts have caused the establishment of the steadfastness and the resistance in the Islamic countries. Inshallah, soon we will witness the liberation of Jerusalem...
"Hizbullah is not only in the arena of fighting, but it is also solving the problems of the people, and providing them aid, and this is the unique aspect of the Islamic movements. Hizbullah's mission does not end with military and defense matters; Hizbullah must play a role in various and diverse tasks in building Islamic culture."
The following are photos of Raisi's tour of the Lebanon-Israel border with Iranian and Hizbullah officials, Raisi's statements in his January 28 meeting with Nasrallah, and his statements in his January 29 meeting with Berri.
January 30 Lebanon-Israel Border Visit
The photos of the Lebanon-Israel border visit are from Raisi's Instagram feed.
January 28 Meeting With Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah
During his January 28 meeting with Nasrallah, Raisi said: "Not only did America's plot [to establish the Islamic State (ISIS) and its presence in Iraq and Syria] fail to dismantle the links in the chain of the resistance, but it caused the emergence of the international resistance front, which became a nightmare for the Zionist regime next to its borders."
Source: Raisi.ir, January 30, 2018.
January 29 Meeting With Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker Berri
During his meeting with Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, Raisi said: "It is the fighters in the arena of fighting, not the negotiating tables, that determine the fate of Lebanon... The Americans, particularly their new and unpleasant president, wanted to push the issue of Jerusalem – the major issue in the Islamic world – to the margins using Qaeda and ISIS. But the cooperation among Iran, Lebanon, and other countries led to the defeat of ISIS, and, with God's help, the issue of Jerusalem will always remain the major issue in the Islamic world.
"Thanks to the unity among Muslims, this accursed plot by the president of America in the matter of 'the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital' is neutralized."
Also on January 29, Raisi told clerical students in Lebanon: "The more might and strength shown against Israel, the more fragile it will become. Lebanon is now in a situation of unity, and this is expanding, but Israel is in the worst possible situation in the world."