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(New York, N.Y.) – Iran’s material support of Lebanese Hezbollah is under intensified scrutiny, as officials continue their investigation into the deadly explosion of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate at the Port of Beirut earlier this month. The port warehouse identified as the epicenter of the blast housed an untouched stockpile of ammonium nitrate for over six years – around the same time new reports indicate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force supplied over 650 tons of ammonium nitrate to Hezbollah in 2013. The material is often used in bomb making.
Hezbollah has also reportedly been caught storing ammonium nitrate in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Germany. The terror organization also reportedly sought to use Lebanon’s agricultural ministry to import ammonium nitrate from Syria.
Hezbollah was known to use the port for illegal drug smuggling operations and other criminal activities. The group’s activities – including the import of explosives, small arms, rockets, and missiles from Iran – have gone seemingly unregulated despite the presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and its Maritime Task Force, which is tasked with monitoring Hezbollah’s presence and activity in Lebanon. With Iranian assistance, Hezbollah grew its rocket arsenal from an estimated 12,000 projectiles in 2006 to a current estimate of as many as 150,000 rockets.
As the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate under UNSC Resolution 1701 is scheduled to be voted upon by members of the Security Council on August 28, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s resources provide additional context and recommendations. Its state sponsor of terrorism resource tracks Iran’s role in sponsoring attacks worldwide against U.S. allies and partners since 1979. UANI’s comprehensive website, Eye on Hezbollah, also delves into how Hezbollah has managed to effectively construct a state within a state, paralyzing Lebanon in its primary loyalty to Iran. To explore UANI’s website, Eye on Hezbollah, please click here.