‘Absurd & evidence-free’: Iran rejects Israel claim of arms to Hezbollah on commercial flights

© Mohamed Al-Sayaghi
Tehran rejects as “absurd and hypocritical” Israeli accusations that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards supplied Hezbollah with arms and ammunition via civilian flights to Lebanon. Not a “shred of evidence” has been produced for any of Israel’s claims, Iran said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon made the accusations in a letter to the United Nations Security Council earlier this week.

“Iran is using airlines such as ‘Mahan Air’, to supply Hezbollah with the capacity to enhance its missile arsenal,” the Israeli UN envoy stated, adding that the arms are either flown by “commercial flights to Beirut,” or flown to “Damascus and then transferred by land” to Hezbollah.

“The arms and related materials are packed in suitcases by the Quds Force in Iran and transferred directly to Hezbollah operatives,” the ambassador wrote, as quoted by the Arutz Sheva.

Tehran has been up in arms over the Israeli allegations.

“The letter, once again, contains a flurry of baseless and unsubstantiated accusations that are leveled against my country without, as usual, a shred of evidence; accusations that none of them are ‘important new information,’ as the author of the letter falsely claims, but old rehashed ones,” Iran's Deputy UN Ambassador Gholamhossein Dehghani wrote to the Security Council on Wednesday, as quoted by Fars news agency.

Dehghani said the Israeli accusation is a smokescreen to hide “criminal policies and acts against the innocent Palestinians.”

“It is absurd and hypocritical for the representative of a regime that has occupied the lands of other peoples for so many decades and denied every basic right of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, to accuse occasionally my country of violating international law,” he added.

“This kind of accusatory claims by the Israeli regime against other countries, including mine, is after all a typical Israeli attempt to smokescreen their criminal policies and acts against the innocent Palestinians, including keeping a 2-million community under siege for 10 years, once in a while bombing and shelling residential areas, destroying schools and hospitals, demolishing houses, confiscating dwellings, violating the sanctity of the religious shrines and so on and so force,” he concluded.

In the Israeli submission, Danon told the UNSC that Iran is “in blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions,” including resolutions 2231 and 1701.

Dehghani replied that the accusation is “equally baseless and this time amusing too, as it amounts to an innovative in-bulk leveling of accusations against a UN Member State. At least, a regime that has brazenly flouted all UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions about the lands it criminally occupies is not in a position to broach such a claim against other nations.”

In July, Danon told the Security Council that Hezbollah possesses up to 17 times more missiles than it did 10 years ago. According to the ambassador, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group currently has some 120,000 missiles, compared to 7,000 in 2006.

Israel last fought a war with Hezbollah in 2006. The conflict included rocket strikes inside Israel and an Israeli air and ground offensive in Lebanon. Israeli leaders have stated that since then, Hezbollah has improved its range of rocket arsenal, and could strike deep inside Israel.

Israel’s claims have also been denied by Fadi al-Hassan, the chief of Lebanon’s Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport.
“[The news] is completely devoid of truth,” he told reporters, as quoted by Reuters, adding that he considered Israel’s claims to be a smear on his country and airport.