A spokesman of the Israeli army has told Iran International that the son of Hezbollah’s deputy is allegedly involved in transferring arms from Iran to Lebanon.
Reza Safieddine, Hisham Safieddine’s son, is married to Zeynab Soleimani, the daughter of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard general Ghasem (Qasem) Soleimani who was killed in a US air strike in Baghdad in January 2020.
Avikay Edri, an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman told Iran International's correspondent on Friday that Reza Safieddine arranges for weapons to be flown from Iran to Damascus on civilian flights and then arranges their transportation and delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
His father who is the number two Hezbollah leader uses his political influence with the Lebanese government to ensure cooperation of officials and presumably security organs for making sure the deliveries are made without any complications.
Hezbollah's number two man Hashim Safieddine
After the Iranian revolution in 1979 that overthrew the monarchy, the newly established Islamic Republic in the early 1980s created the Lebanese Hezbollah among the country’s Shiites amid lawlessness and civil war (1975-1990). The Hezbollah has been armed and financed by Iran since then as a potent weapon against Israel.
The Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his disciples who have ruled in Iran are sworn enemies of Israel and have many times called for its destruction throughout the years. Iran has armed the Hezbollah with thousands of rockets and missiles threatening Israeli cities that are within the easy range of Shiite-dominated southern Lebanon where Hezbollah freely operates.
Edri also accused Reza Safieddine and the Hezbollah of endangering the lives of civilians by transporting weapons on airliners to Syria, which is a close ally of Iran.
Iran has extensively used its civil aviation to transport weapons and troops to Syria. The Revolutionary Guard controls several Iranian airlines, including one of the biggest Mahan. The United States sanctioned the company in 2011 for its role in the Syrian war.
In November 2020, a senior IRGC official Nosratollah Hosseinipur in a public ceremony had said, “You should know that in troop transportation to Syria it was the wide-body Mahan airliners that saved the day, by landing in Damasuc under enemy fire and disembarking troops.”
Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes at targets in Syria since 2017, mostly to destroy Iranian weapons shipments, which presumably also come overland from Iraq. Tehran has had a large military presence in Syria since 2011, when a revolt began against the ruling Assad family.
Israel has made it clear over the past few years that it will not accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria, especially near its northern borders in and around the Golan Heights.
Ghasem Soleimani played the main role in Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, dispatching Revolutionary Guard high ranking officers, experts and both Iranian and proxy troops to defend the rule of Bashar Assad. He was Iran’s regional military and intelligence chief, also organizing Iraqi Shiite militias and helping Houthi rebels in Yemen against Saudi Arabia. When attacks against US interests increased in Iraq in the end of 2019, former US president Donald Trump ordered his killing.