Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, nominated to be defense minister by Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani, was a commander in Lebanon overseeing Hezbollah operations during the time of the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

According to a report by Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dehghan was sent to Lebanon and served as a commander of the training corps of the Revolutionary Guard in Syria and Lebanon. He joined the Revolutionary Guard after they were formed in 1979 and spent his entire military career there.

Shapira writes that after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Dehghan was sent to Lebanon and became responsible for supervising Hezbollah’s military force. Dehghan then took over the command for the Revolutionary Guard in Lebanon.

It was from a base in the Beqaa valley where Iran planned along with Hezbollah, attacks against the Multinational Force and IDF soldiers in Lebanon. In 1983, two separate suicide bombings killed 241 US Marines and 58 French soldiers in their respective barracks in Beirut.

A group called Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the attacks, which was headed by Imad Mughniyeh, who was later assassinated in Syria by the Mossad, according to foreign media reports. This organization, according to the report, was a special operations arm that was under the joint command of Iran and Hezbollah.

The orders for the attack on the Multinational Forces were transmitted from Tehran to the Iranian ambassador to Damascus, and then to forces in Lebanon. The US Marine commander said that the US National Security Agency (NSA) overheard the Iranian orders for the attack.

Shapira doubts that such orders could have been carried out without the knowledge of Dehghan.

Dehghan’s appointment still needs to be approved by the Iran legislature (Majlis).

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