Nasrallah's father recounts son's rise to fame
Iran's state-owned news agency published an exclusive interview Sunday with the father of Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah.
Abu-Hassan Nasrallah, 75, told an IRNA reporter who visited the parents in their Beirut home that his son, whom he calls Sayyid Hassan, comes around about once a year.
"If we need to we contact him on the phone, because there are security restrictions on meetings with him and the conditions are very strict," Nasrallah said as his wife sat modestly, and silently, beside him.
The Hezbollah leader has yet to emerge from the bunkers in which he has been hiding since the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
When asked whether he was concerned about an Israeli assassination of his son, Abu-Hassan said, "Every night his mother and I pray for his success and for such schemes to fail."
The Nasrallahs reside in a modest home located in the Lebanese capital's Dahiya quarter. Their otherwise sparsely-furnished living room boasts a large portrait of the Hezbollah leader, who is the eldest of their nine children.
The report also mentions portraits of their grandson, Hadi Nasrallah, who was killed in a battle with IDF soldiers in 1997, and Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah, who was killed in 2008. There is also a picture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with whom the father met on a visit to Tehran.
Abu-Hassan recounted his son's childhood. "He was a good boy from the beginning. He was never greedy," he said. "He loved to play soccer and learn about literature and religion."
The proud father added that even back then, Nasrallah had been outstandingly articulate. "He could learn 100 pages by heart," he said. "Wherever he spoke people were surprised at how a 14-year old boy could speak thus before village elders and religious officials."
Hassan Nasrallah will turn 50 next month, and the report presents him as a simple and devout Lebanese leader.
"I wanted him to be an engineer or a lawyer," said Abu-Hassan, who claimed he had opposed his son's religious studies in Iraq. Though Nasrallah's studies there were cut short, leaving him without the authority to make religious rulings, he often inserts quotes from Islamic texts into his speeches.
According to the father, Nasrallah married immediately upon returning to Lebanon, at age 19.
He said the marriage had surprised him, because his son had not yet made enough money to support a family. However the recently deceased Sheikh Hassan Fadlallah, a Shiite cleric who was later to become Hezbollah's spiritual leader, convinced him to be supportive.
"Fadlallah told me, don't worry, because though the boy is only 19 he is as smart as a 35-year old and can run an entire nation," Abu-Hassan boasted.