TEHRAN, July 22 — There is a huge amount of anger here about what is happening in Lebanon, but it is not all the result of Israeli bombs, missiles and artillery.
“Of course I am angry,’’ said Hamid Akbari, 30, a deliveryman. “All our income is going to Palestine and Hezbollah.”
For decades, Iran has been Hezbollah’s prime patron, helping create it as a Shiite Muslim militia and then nurture it with money, expertise and weapons. But now that Hezbollah is in the midst of full-blown fighting with Israel, Iranian officials have been adamant in insisting that they had nothing to do with the events that set off the crisis.
Part of the reason may be fear, or concern, that the United States and Europe would punish Iran, if it were proved otherwise. But Iranian officials may have a wary eye on their public. In interviews in central Tehran Saturday, person after person said the same thing: Iran should worry about Iran’s problems and not be dragged down by others’ battles.
“We Iranians have a saying,” said Ali Reza Moradi, 35, a portrait artist who works in a small booth downtown. “We should save our own house first and then save the mosque. A lot of people think this way. The government should help its people first, and then help the people in Lebanon.”