An Iranian figure who had a key role in founding Hezbollah publicly announced that long-range Iranian Zelzal-2 rockets were delivered to the organization

Issued on: 09/08/2006 Type: Article

1. �Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour , Iran's head of the Headquarters for Intifada Support, and who in the past was one of Hezbollah's founders and Iran ambassador to Syria, publicly described Hezbollah's capabilities. Interviewed on August 3 by the Iranian reformist daily newspaper Sharq he admitted, in an exceptional statement, that Iranian long-range Zelzal 2 rockets were delivered to Hezbollah and that the organization, which he claimed was independent, would not hesitate to use them.

Terrorist convention

�Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, head of the Headquarters for the Support of Palestinian Terrorism Campaign ( intifada ) with Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas's political bureau (right) and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah general secretary (left). The meeting was held at the conference of Islamic scholars held in Beirut in January 2002.

2. The main points made by Mohtashamipour 1 were:

��Hezbollah has Zelzal-2 rockets, which have a range of 250 km (155 miles) and can reach any place in Israeli-occupied Palestine � There may be other countries which have the same weapon but they do not have the courage to use it. [However,] Hezbollah both knows how to use this weapon in its possession and is brave and daring enough to do so � Hezbollah had the foresight [to acquire] some of its know-how and training on the fronts in Iran � Most of the trained forces of Hezbollah were on our front in the war for eight years [i.e., during the Iran-Iraq war], and here [in Lebanon ] they carry out their actions both directly and under cover ��.

3. Such a statement by a senior Iranian figure who played a central role in Hezbollah's foundation is exceptional and contradicts the official Iranian line, which denies direct Iranian involvement in the recent events in Lebanon . Long-range Zelzal-2 rockets manufactured in Iran were in fact delivered to Hezbollah by the Iranians and form part of the rocket arsenal the organization stockpiled in Lebanon . They provide Hezbollah with the capability to threaten population centers in the heart of Israel , including Tel Aviv and cities further south . Mohtashamipour made a point of noting that Hezbollah had both the knowledge and capability to launch the rockets and that it would not hesitate to use them .

4. The Zelzal-2 is a heavy ground-to-ground missile manufactured by the Iranian military industry, one of the Zelzal (�earthquake�) family of rockets. It has a maximum range of 210 km (about 130 miles) ( i.e., Tel Aviv and population centers further south ) and carries a warhead of 400 kg (880 lbs). Iran 's delivery of Zelzal-2 rockets to Hezbollah and positioning them in Lebanon are a strategic threat to the heart of Israel and are a main component of the equation of deterrence flaunted by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (i.e., an attack on Beirut means an attack on Tel Aviv). In our assessment, it is possible that Mohtashamipour's statement was meant to highlight that equation during the current Hezbollah-Israel fighting.

5. Hujjat Al-Islam 'Ali Akbar Mokhtashemipour was the architect of Hezbollah's founding in Lebanon in 1982 and played a key role in directing the organization's terrorist missions in Lebanon (against Israeli, American and French targets) when he was Iranian ambassador to Syria in 1982-1985. He was returned to Teheran in 1985, apparently because of his involvement in subversion in Syria . After the Iran-Iraq war he was minister of the interior but was not satisfied with formal ministerial powers, viewing himself as involved in formulating Iran 's radical foreign policies. Today he is head of the Headquarters for Intifada Support and encourages Palestinian terrorism, but has no official political post in the Iranian r�gime.

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