Monday, Oct 27, 2008
Iran is arming “freedom armies” in the Middle East, according to a top commander of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards quoted Sunday by a military website.
“Today, not only our armed forces are self sufficient but the freedom armies of the region get part of their weaponary from us,” said Hossein Hamedani, deputy commander of Iran’s volunteer Basij militia.
His comments appeared on the public relations website of the Revolutionary Guards, of which the Basij militia forms a part.
Like those of the Revolutionary Guards, commanders of the militia are appointed by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
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Hamedani whose military rank was not provided, did not elaborate further on what he meant by “freedom armies.”
But Iran has dubbed Palestinian groups such as the Islamist movement Hamas and the hardline Islamic Jihad as well as the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah as “freedom armies” since all have vowed to fight Tehran’s regional arch-foe, Israel.
Tehran has always maintained that its support to these groups is merely “moral” and that it does not provide them with any military means, despite claims to the contrary by Washington.
After Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, Shiite majority Iran has been accused by the US of providing arms to Shiite insurgents in Iraq, an allegation that has been denied by Tehran.