Tehran is ready to provide aid to both the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah to help combat “terrorists,” a senior Iranian defense official said Sunday.
“Supporting the Lebanese nation, army and resistance will still remain on Iran’s agenda,”
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying by Iranian state TV.
Hezbollah’s allies refer to it as the “resistance” because of its stated mission of driving Israel out of occupied territory.
“Iran is ready to transfer its experience in order to improve security in Lebanon and the region, and to combat terrorists,” he added during a meeting with Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel in Tehran on Sunday.
According to Iranian reports, the aid would consist of military equipment, such as semi- heavy machine guns and ammunition, 120 mm mortars, 120 mm ammunition, 60 mm ammunition, TOW anti-armor missiles, TOW rockets, 155 mm artillery shells, night vision goggles, and T-55 and T-62 tank ammunition.
Despite insistence from Iran of its willingness to supply aid, Lebanon is still reportedly mulling whether to accept amid fears that it could violate UN sanctions on Tehran. And according to a Lebanese report just over a week ago, the US threatened to cut off all aid to Lebanon should Beirut accept an Iranian offer of military aid.
Part of the US’s reluctance to allow Iran to provide the Lebanese Army with arms may stem from Washington’s concern that the weapons could pass into the hands of Hezbollah, which wields both military and political power in Lebanon and is considered a terrorist organization by the US and much of the West.
Until recently Iran has provided the Shiite militia in Lebanon with arms through Syria, but the three year civil war has largely prevented Tehran from transferring military equipment through that route.
Lebanon and Hezbollah are currently battling Islamic State militants from neighboring Syria.