'Port of Beirut now Port of Hezbollah,' Danon tells UNSC

Lebanese Ambassador said the Lebanese saw the accusations as 'direct threats on their peace and civilian infrastructure.'

July 24, 2019 00:48
2 minute read.
Ambassador Danon reveals new intelligence information in the Security Council: Iran and Syria are sm

Ambassador Danon reveals new intelligence information in the Security Council: Iran and Syria are smuggling dual-use equipment into Lebanon to build up Hezbollah. (photo credit: ISRAEL'S NEW YORK MISSION)

Iran is smuggling arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon through the port of Beirut by exploiting “civilian maritime channels,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN in New York, Danny Danon, warned the Security Council on Tuesday.

“Israel found that Iran and the Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut,” Danon said.

“The Port of Beirut is now the Port of Hezbollah,” he said adding, it is “harder and harder to tell where Beirut ends and Tehran begins.”

He warned that the Quds Force was sending “dual-use items” into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities and conversion program.”

Iran and Hezbollah have purchased such dual use items form civilians companies such as the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (“CERS”), Danon said.

“The true nature of these purchases is against Israel and its citizens,” he added.

Danon held up a map showing the smuggling routes and called on the UN Security Council to take action, noting its resolution 1701 only allows the sale or transfer of arms to the Lebanese government. Transferring them to Hezbollah is a direct violation of that resolution as well as 1559 which calls for armed non-governmental groups in Lebanon to disarm, Danon said.

“This call for an arms embargo has been completely ignored,” Danon said.

Iran’s exploitation of Lebanese civilian maritime channels follows its use of civilian airports in Damascus and Beirut as well as the Syrian-Lebanese border to smuggle arms into Lebanon, Danon said.

“Every member state in this organization must ask itself the following questions: Are you absolutely sure your companies are not the ones selling dual-use equipment to the hands of Hezbollah?

“Are you sure your citizens know the end-users of these dual-use items? Mr. President, The Iranian regime’s targets for exporting the revolution stretch far beyond the banks of the Mediterranean,” Danon remarked.

He also called on the Security Council to take action against Iran’s nuclear threat.

“We simply do not have the luxury to give the Iranian regime the benefit of the doubt. Now is not the time for optimism, but the time for realism.

“We learn from history that when the international community fails to rise to the occasion before it is too late, the price to pay is unbearable. When it comes to the Iranian regime, now is not the time for appeasement. Now is the time for action,” Danon said.

Lebanese U.N. Ambassador Amal Mudallali said the Lebanese saw such accusations a "direct threats on their peace and civilian infrastructure." Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's coalition government.

She warned that these comments could be prelude to justification for an Israeli attack on the port of Beirut.

“The last thing Lebanon and the region needs now is another war,” she said.

"If he is using them to prepare the ground and the international community for an attack on Lebanon's civilian ports and airport and its infrastructure - as they did in 2006 - this council should not stay silent," she said.

Speaking in the council later on Tuesday, Iran's deputy U.N. ambassador, Eshagh Al-Habib, did not directly address the Israeli accusations, but said Danon had "unsuccessfully tried to distract attention away from the crimes and unlawful policies of its regime."

Reuters contributed to this story.

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