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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Exclusive: Iran was behind Hezbollah-Israel war

Iran Focus

London, Aug. 16 – Iran masterminded the July 12 attack on an Israeli military squad by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah which ignited a major military offensive against the group by the Jewish state, Iran Focus has learnt.

A well-placed source inside the clerical establishment told Iran Focus that prior to the start of hostilities Tehran dispatched several top officials including the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to attend a summit in Syria which took place on July 4 and focused on ways to upset the regional balance in the Middle East.

Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, travelled to the Syrian capital last month, staying in Damascus between July 1 and 6 under the cover of pilgrimage to a revered Shiite Muslim shrine.

Simultaneously, several top Hezbollah officials arrived in Damascus for what they claimed was to meet Hassan Khomeini.

On July 4, the secretary general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani made an unannounced trip to the Syrian capital.

The Supreme Commander of the IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the Staff of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi also secretly travelled to Damascus to attend the summit.

The summit, which was held at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, was also attended by top Syrian security officials and Iran’s ambassador to Syria Hassan Akhtari. The radical Shiite cleric was formerly the chief of staff of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During the summit a politico-military strategy was drawn up for a possible attack by Hezbollah fighters against Israel to trigger a regional war, and the militia was called on to prepare for an offensive.

Days later, on July 11, following a round of talks in Brussels with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West, Larijani made a second unannounced to trip to Damascus. There he met and held talks with Syrian Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, making the final arrangements for the actions that were to follow.

Finally, while meeting a top Hezbollah official in the Iranian embassy, Larijani gave the order for the Lebanese militia to mount the cross-border attack on the Jewish state, triggering the 34-day war which has left 157 Israelis and 1,110 Lebanese dead.
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