Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday that he would bring anti-aircraft weapons to Lebanon from Iran in order to confront Israeli aircraft, calling on Beirut to accept the offer.
“Will the Lebanese government dare to accept the Iranian proposals? Why should Lebanon remain afraid to cooperate with Iran?” Nasrallah asked in a televised address marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
“In the military field, wouldn’t people make an uproar and accuse Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into war should the party shoot down an Israeli aircraft attacking Lebanon? I’m a friend of Iran, and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront Israel,” he continued.
According to him, Syria and Iraq are accepting Iranian help and benefiting from it, and “whatever the Lebanese Army needs to become the strongest regional army, I am willing to go to Iran and bring it.”
Israel has reiterated its view several times on any transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah as a redline and will work to prevent any such movement.
In September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared photos during his address at the UN General Assembly of locations near the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport where, he said, Hezbollah attempted to convert ground-to-ground missiles to precision missiles. The sites have since been closed.
Israel and Hezbollah last fought a war – the Second Lebanon War – in 2006. Since then, Hezbollah has morphed from a guerrilla group into an army with a set hierarchy and procedures. With the help of Iran, it has rebuilt its arsenal, and now has hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach deeper into Israel.
The leader of the Shi’ite Lebanese terrorist group spoke for more than an hour in his second speech in several weeks after months of silence, and said that he had gone “on a delegation to Iran” to explore solving Lebanon’s electricity problem.
“I tell you now, Iran can offer an extremely easy solution to Lebanon’s electricity problems, in under a year.”
For several years, Nasrallah is believed to have been living in a secure bunker, apparently located in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiya, in order to prevent an assassination attempt.
The Hezbollah leader admitted that the group has been “affected by the sanctions” slapped on it by Washington but vowed that it would “overcome the difficulties through firmness, will and resolve.
“From 1979 until today, there has been a chronicle of American defeats and Israeli defeats in this region, and there will be more defeats for them going forward,” he said. “This struggle will continue. The Islamic Republic of Iran is now the region’s strongest country, and the Resistance Axis will remain strong. America will continue losing, and Israel will increase in fear and terror.”
According to Nasrallah, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf States are powerless to wage war against Iran, and the possibility that Israel would start a war with it was “laughable.”
But he vowed that Hezbollah would fight alongside Iran in the event of a war with the United States.
“Why does America oppose Iran? Because Iran... supports Palestine. Even if the entire world gives up on Palestine, Iran will never give up on Palestine or its holy sites,” Nasrallah said.
“If America launches war on Iran, it will not be alone in the confrontation at all. The resistance axis is stronger than ever; the US will further withdraw from the region, and Israel is heading towards more fear and panic,” he warned.