Huge Hezbollah-bound shipments of ammonium nitrate handled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Al Quds Forces, Western intelligence agencies say.
While the mainstream media have largely shied away from reporting Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah’s apparent link to this month’s deadly Beirut blast, German newspaper Die Welt has published a detailed account citing Western intelligence agencies linking the Lebanese terrorist outfit to the carnage that killed more than 200 people and left thousands injured.
Quoting Western intelligence reports, the German daily revealed that the Hezbollah received substantial quantities of ammonium nitrate explosives from Iran. The Iranian deliveries match the timeline of the stockpile stored near the Beirut port which exploded on August 4, leaving behind a trails of death and destruction in the Lebanese capital. Die Welt did not reveal the names of the intelligence agencies, a standard practice for the leading German newspaper which regularly publishes exclusive reports based on Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and other services.
Die Welt on Wednesday exposed the money trail and shipping details implicating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), regime’s military wing and an internationally designated terrorist group. The shipments of explosives in question were handled by the IRGC’s foreign terrorist arm, Al Quds Forces.
Die Welt, Germany’s most-read newspaper detailed intel findings linking Iranian regime and the Hezbollah to the Beirut blast:
Following the devastating explosion in Beirut which took place the week before last, several clues [have emerged] that the Lebanon’s Shia militia Hezbollah repeatedly worked with the particular chemical which also caused the detonation in the Lebanese capital: ammonium nitrate, a [type of] salt that can be used as an explosive, but can also be used in manufacturing fertilizers.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has since vehemently denied that his organization had anything to do with the chemical stockpile that cause the explosion. However, according to details [provided by] Western intelligence agencies to Die Welt, the Hezbollah received a large delivery of ammonium nitrate closely coinciding with [the timeline of] material that detonated in Beirut.
According to the information available at present, the explosion occurred on August 4 as the stock of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire which was stored since late 2013 or early 2014 in a hall at the Beirut port. Who exactly ordered the delivery and who was responsible for the storage is presently being investigated.
However, according to the information provided by intelligence agencies to Die Welt, the Hezbollah — precisely at that time — had substantial quantities of ammonium nitrate delivered to Lebanon. The Quds [part] of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard [IRGC] was responsible for the transportation, [the outfit] which handles the foreign operations of that paramilitary [organization] and also holds key position in Iran’s politics.
In January 2020, the then-commandant of the Quds unit, General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an American drone strike. The delivery of ammonium nitrate to Hezbollah also took place under his watch.
In the first transaction, a total of 270 tons of ammonium nitrate was delivered on June, 16, 2013 from Iran to Lebanon. [Its] price: the converted value of €176,399 [roughly $208,000]. On October 23 of the same year, another 270 tons of ammonium nitrate was delivered, this time for the price of €140,693 [roughly $166,000]. In case of the third delivery, the quantity of ammonium nitrate delivered is unclear, [but it] can de deduced by the price.
This way, for the delivery on April 4, 2014 a total of one billion Iranian Rial were charged (around $61,438/or $72,000). Calculated on the basis of other two deliveries, this could have been about 90 to 130 tons. In total the three deliveries amounted to 630 to 670 tons of ammonium nitrate.
The freight in October 2013 was transported in flexible bulk material containers [also known as the big bags]; probably by one of the official private Iranian airlines that are regarded as front companies for the Revolutionary Guard [IRGC]. One of these, the Mahan Airlines, had its German take-off and landing rights cancelled, under explicit reference to the activities of the Revolutionary Guard.
The other deliveries took place via maritimes and and route, such as over the Syrian border. (…)
Die Welt was able too see the billing documents of the delivery, but cannot fully verify their nature of the declarations. They, however, appear plausible in light of the knowledge on the logistics of the Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard. Similar transport routes and deliveries between both the organisations is known for a long times and has been documented in parts.
[Translation of the article and the rough currency conversions by the author]
Qassem Soleimani, the wanted terrorist killed in the U.S. airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump earlier this year, played a key role in procuring and delivering the deadly shipments, Die Welt reported citing intelligence sources. Soleimani, who headed Iranian Al Quds forces, was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. servicemen stationed in Iraq, the Pantagon revealed in January 2020. President Trump was widely criticized by the U.S. and European media for taking that call.
There are speculations about Hezbollah’s intentions for stockpiling the deadly explosives in the heart of Beirut. “Hezbollah may have amassed the ammonium nitrate to use during the civil war in Syria and advance the military aims of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad” or “for accumulating the deadly chemical … may have been to detonate the material against Israeli targets via Hezbollah’s tunnel system,” wrote Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow for the D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), who first broke the story in the English language media.
Even with the ‘smoking gun’ now produced by the German newspaper, it is unlikely Western media and European politicians will call for any action against the Hezbollah or its patron, the Iranian regime. The European Union, reportedly due to French influence, refuses to impose a complete ban on Hezbollah, and continues to ‘engage‘ with the political wing of the Iran-sponsored terrorist group.
European powers are equally willing to appease Tehran. Earlier this week, leading European nations ‘sided with the ayatollahs,’ to paraphrase U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, with UK, France and Germany opposing U.S. efforts to snapback sanctions against the Iranian regime. “No country but the United States has had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with the ayatollahs,” Pompeo said on Friday.
Israeli professor Dr. Mordechai Kedar: On ‘how will the Beirut blast affect Hezbollah; the region?’DONATE
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