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U.S. condemns Iran decision to put wreath on Hezbollah leader's grave

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and Iran's Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi (2nd R) pay their respect at the grave
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and Iran's Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi (2nd R) pay their respect at the grave

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday condemned a decision by Iran's foreign minister to place a wreath at the grave of a former Lebanese Hezbollah leader accused of perpetrating attacks that killed hundreds of people.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was photographed on Monday laying a wreath at the grave of assassinated Hezbollah military commander Imad Moughniyeh in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in condemning the move that Moughniyeh had been responsible for "heinous acts of terrorism that killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans."

"The inhumane violence that Moughniyeh perpetrated - and that Lebanese Hezbollah continues to perpetrate in the region with Iran's financial and material support - has had profoundly destabilizing and deadly effects for Lebanon and the region," Hayden said.

The condemnation came as the United States works with world powers to ensure Iran abides by an interim deal aimed at containing Iran's nuclear program.

"The decision to commemorate an individual who has participated in such vicious acts, and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide, sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region," Hayden said.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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