Iranian Official Admits Tehran Supplied Missiles to Hezbollah

Iran's former envoy to Lebanon says Tehran supplied Hezbollah with Zelzal missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Amos Harel
Yoav Stern
Haaretz Correspondents
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Amos Harel
Yoav Stern
Haaretz Correspondents

A senior Iranian official admitted for the first time Friday that Tehran did indeed supply long-range Zelzal-2 missiles to Hezbollah.

Mohtashami Pur, a one-time ambassador to Lebanon who currently holds the title of secretary-general of the "Intifada conference," told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles to the Shi'ite militia, adding that the organization has his country's blessing to use the weapons in defense of Lebanon.

Pur's statements are thought to be unusual given that Tehran has thus far been reluctant to comment on the extent of its aid which it has extended to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah warned Thursday night in a televised broadcast that his organization would target Tel Aviv if Beirut was attacked by Israel.

"If our capital, Beirut, is attacked, we will attack your capital, Tel Aviv," Nasrallah threatened.

The Hezbollah leader issued his warning after Israel Air Force aircraft dropped leaflets over the Lebanese capital, calling on residents of three Shi'ite neighborhoods in southern Beirut to evacuate their homes.

Israeli security sources assessed that Nasrallah's threats are serious.

On Wednesday evening, the IAF attacked Beirut for the first time after a hiatus of nearly five days. The dropping of the leaflets yesterday is considered to be a precursor to new air strikes on the city.

Military Intelligence estimates that Nasrallah would like to end the war with a dramatic move, such as the firing of missiles against Tel Aviv.

The range of the Iranian-made Zelzal missiles is estimated to be 210 kilometers, enabling Hezbollah to target the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv and its environs. Last week, the IAF deployed Patriot anti-aircraft missiles near Netanya as part of the overall effort to foil a possible Zelzal attack.

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