Hezbollah - AP - Nov. 12, 2010
Hezbollah fighters parade during the inauguration of a cemetery for fighters who died while fighting Israel, in southern Beirut on Nov. 12, 2010. Photo by AP
Text size

Iran used the neutrality of the Iranian Red Crescent to smuggle agents and weapons into Lebanon during Israel's 2006 with Hezbollah, U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed on Sunday.

According to an Iranian sources mentioned in the cables, which were made available by the U.K. newspaper the Guardian, the IRC provided a cover for Iranian Revolutionary Guards members

"The only true Iranian Red Crescent officers dispatched to Lebanon were the doctors and drivers. Shipments of medical supplies served also to facilitate weapons shipments," the Guardian quotes the source as saying.

The IRC source added that medical staff in Iran had seen missiles on a plane destined for Lebanon while delivering medical supplies to the airport, and that the "plane was allegedly 'half full' prior to the arrival of any medical supplies."

In addition, the source revealed that an IRC hospital in southern Lebanon was handed over to Hezbollah control, alleging that "Hassan Nasrallah had asked Supreme Leader Khamenei to allow Hezbollah to run the hospital during Dr. [Mohammad Reza] Noorbala's tenure as IRC president."

Israel has long warned of Iran's military links to the Lebanese militant group, with some officials estimating Hezbollah to be stronger now than it was prior to the Second Lebanon war.

Earlier this month, Channel 10 quoted the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa as saying that Hezbollah obtained a complete aerial array from Iran, including an attack aircraft and several unmanned aerial vehicles,

According to sources close to the Hezbollah military leadership, Hezbollah has at least three different kinds of UAVs and an Iranian aircraft that could reach long distances and attack specific targets on the ground.

The sources say that these are the "surprises" that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah promised his organization would use in any future conflict with Israel.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard is responsible for the transfer of the aircraft to Hezbollah, sources say, and dozens of Iranian experts were allegedly sent to Lebanon to aid Hezbollah in building the aerial array and to train militants.

According to the report, Tehran allocated a very high budget for the project.

Western sources responded to the report, saying that they fear the aircraft could be an "important card" in a possible future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.