TEL AVIV – Iran will send weapons and additional support to bolster its proxy Hezbollah to fight against “arrogant powers,” the regime’s newly appointed defense minister said.
“Our aim is to cut reliance on the outside and achieve self-sufficiency in defense industry,” the regime-affiliated Mehr news agency quoted Brigadier General Amir Hatami as saying, adding that “if needed, we will also export defense equipment to other countries in order to guarantee security and stability in the region.”
“Wherever a country becomes weak, others become encouraged to raid it… Wherever necessary, we will export weapons to increase the security of the region and countries, to prevent wars,” he said.
“We seek defending our rights based on Islamic teachings, and will help all nations who seek to fight against arrogant powers,” he added.
The IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Herzi Halevi recently confirmed reports that Iran set up weapons factories operated by Hezbollah in response to Israeli strikes against weapons convoys in Syria.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Iran is building advanced weapons factories in Lebanon and Syria.
“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment,” Netanyahu said at a news conference with Guterres on Monday, “and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”
Netanyahu said that Iran “is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles toward that end in both Syria and in Lebanon.”
He added: “This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also told Guterres about Iran’s repeated efforts to smuggle arms into Lebanon. “We are determined to prevent any threat to the security of the citizens of Israel,” Lieberman said, according to a transcript of his remarks issued by his office.
Hatami’s remarks fly in the face of those made by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri denying that Iran had established weapons factories in Lebanon, saying the claims were part of a “disinformation campaign.”
Hatami also said that over the next four years Tehran plans to strengthen the country’s air defense as well ballistic and cruise missile systems.
“We will boost [our] defensive power so much that no one would dare violate Iran,” he said.