Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Thursday expressed Tehran's great outrage after Gulf states the day before formally declared Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
Responding to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announcement, Amir-Abdollahian said, "those who call Hezbollah terrorists, have intentionally or unintentionally targeted the unity and security of Lebanon."
“The terrorism tag for Hezbollah, the most potent resistance movement, and inattention to the Zionist regime's atrocities is a new mistake which doesn’t benefit the regional stability and security," he said as quoted by the state-run PressTV.
The GCC move can be seen as a step up in the tensions between the Saudi states and their Shi'ite Iran axis rival, in tensions that have particularly grown since the Iran nuclear deal last year that reportedly has already begun to launch a regional nuclear arms race.
In outlawing Hezbollah, the GCC noted on how the terrorist group has been recruiting terrorists and smuggling weapons in its member states, which include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Amir-Abdollahian defended Hezbollah by saying most of its terrorism is directed against Israel, and he added that it is fighting "terrorism" in the region, in a reference to how it is propping up Bashar al-Assad's regime against opposition forces in Syria on Iran's orders.
"We are proud of Lebanon's Hezbollah as the vanguard of resistance against the Zionist regime and the champion of the fight against terrorism in the region," he said.
"National unity, security and stability of Lebanon as well as support for convergence among all Lebanese groups forms the basis of Iran's policy."
The GCC's action against Hezbollah came a week after Saudi Arabia halted a $3 billion program funding equipment for Lebanese security forces and urged Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon in response to "hostile" positions linked to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah responded on Tuesday by telling the Saudis not to harm all of Lebanon, saying, "if there's a criminal, I'm the criminal, Hezbollah is the criminal. If you have a problem with us, you can continue doing so – but what does the rest of the country have to do with it?"
In his last speech, Nasrallah mentioned threatened a “nuclear attack” on the ammonia tank in Haifa. Hezbollah is said to have roughly 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel.