Tehran has cautioned against politicizing the devastating blast in Beirut, arguing that Washington should drop sanctions on Lebanon if it is serious about helping the nation recover from the catastrophe.

“If America is honest about its assistance offer to Lebanon, they should lift sanctions [against it],” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday during a news conference.

In response to a question about French President Emmanual Macron’s visit to Beirut, the spokesman remarked that “some countries have been trying to politicize this blast for their own interests.” Macron has faced criticism for using his visit to express sympathy with anti-government demonstrators. He also claimed that the country’s future “is being decided now.”

Washington announced last week that it had begun to deliver aid to Lebanon in the aftermath of the explosion. However, the humanitarian relief is at odds with US sanctions imposed against Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government. As a result, the Pentagon has claimed that it needs to be more cautious when administering aid to Lebanon, and expressed “concerns with whom the aid would go to.”

Beirut has been rocked by demonstrations following Tuesday’s explosion, which killed more than 200 people and turned a huge swath of the city into rubble. On Saturday the US Embassy in Beirut expressed solidarity with the anti-government protesters while urging all sides to “refrain from violence.”

The protests have already led to the resignation of several ministers, the most recent being Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm. 

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