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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks: Iran used Red Crescent to send agents and weapons to Hezbollah

A heavily redacted memo in Wikileaks as presented by The Guardian shows that Iran has cynically used its Red Crescent to smuggle weapons -including missiles - and agents into Lebanon during the 2006 war as well as elsewhere.

8. (S) Per the IRC's regulations, following his election in 2005, President Ahmadi-Nejad was able to appoint four members (out of 16) of the IRC management group. These four [NAMES REMOVED] were opposed to the IRC's leadership and eventually requested its president, Dr. Ahmad Ali Noorbala, to resign. [DETAILS REMOVED] He did so in January 2006 [DETAILS REMOVED] Most of the incoming managers were members of the IRGC or the MOIS [Iranian Intelligence Agency]. [NAME REMOVED] said that pre-existing members now considered the IRC an agent of the IRGC. [Iranian Republican Guard]

9. (S) [NAME REMOVED] further elaborated on the presence of MOIS officials in the IRC and other government agencies. All government agencies include an MOIS representative [DETAILS REMOVED] [NAME REMOVED] Prior to Ahmadi-Nejad, the IRC official in this position was the sole MOIS representative; afterwards, [NAME REMOVED] said 40 officers at headquarters and 100 officers at the provincial officers came from the MOIS.

10. (S) [DETAILS REMOVED] in line with Ahmadinejad's government-wide directive, that all employees pass a counterintelligence course. [NAME REMOVED] indicated that such a course violated the principles of the IRC because Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations are supposed to be independent from the state.

11. (S) In addition to the personnel moves, [DETAILS REMOVED] The IRC under Dr. Noorbala had resisted the IRGC's request to take responsibility for relief and rescue operations. [DETAILS REMOVED] the IRGC's Basij forces to assume responsibility for relief and rescue. [DETAILS REMOVED]

12.(S) In 2007, the IRC's budget was granted an additional $200 million to acquire helicopters. The IRC, [DETAILS REMOVED] ordered 20 Russian MI-17 helicopters. Five of these were delivered to the IRC, the remaining 15 went to the IRGC. A similar helicopter order was planned for 2008. (Note: [NAME REMOVED] indicated that [NAME REMOVED] is the only Iranian entity allowed to import helicopters and that it is owned by the IRGC and MOIS.)

13.(S) [NAME REMOVED] has invested in three Iranian companies backed by the IRGC and Defense Ministry. The first, owned by the Defense Ministry, produces chemical weapons protective equipment; it had been defunct prior to the infusion of IRC funds. The second, owned by the IRGC, produces pre-fabricated military commands and mobile hospitals. The third, owned by the Defense Ministry, produces armored personnel carriers.

14.(C) Finally, the IRC [DETAILS REMOVED] began building health clinics in Karbala, Najaf, Hilla, Kazemayn, and Basra and awarded the construction contracts to IRGC companies, despite the IRC's own staff of qualified engineers. [NAME REMOVED] said the clinics would be used for treatment but also as warehouses for military equipment or military bases if needed. He noted that the Iraqi Red Crescent and Iraqi Ministry of Health were not happy with this activity.

Facilitating IRGC Support to Hezbollah

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15. (S) The IRC again facilitated the entry of Qods force officers to Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah war in summer 2006. Although [NAME REMOVED] did not travel to Lebanon during the conflict, he reiterated that the only true IRC officers dispatched to Lebanon were [DETAILS REMOVED] all others were IRGC and MOIS officials. [NAME REMOVED] further said that the IRC shipments of medical supplies served also to facilitate weapons shipments. He said that IRC [DETAILS REMOVED] had seen missiles in the planes destined for Lebanon when delivering medical supplies to the plane. The plane was allegedly "half full" prior to the arrival of any medical supplies.

16. (S) [NAME REMOVED] also allowed the transfer of an IRC hospital in southern Lebanon to Hezbollah. [NAME REMOVED] said that Hassan Nasrallah had asked Supreme Leader Khamenei to allow Hezbollah to run the hospital during Dr. Noorbala's tenure as IRC president. Although Khamenei acquiesced, Dr. Noorbala prevented the transfer until his own departure. The hospitaL [DETAILS REMOVED] is under Hezbollah control. [NAME REMOVED] is allegedly close to Nasrallah and is also trying to create a network of medical clinics in Lebanon.

17. (S) Comment: [NAMES REMOVED] are examples of figures nominally within the Iranian government establishment who have taken courageous stands against IRGC and MOIS incursions into Iranian governance. Such figures are key to our ability to understanding and countering the malign activities of these organizations regionally...