Imam Khomeini International Airport is Iran’s gateway to the world. About 30 kilometers southwest of the capital Tehran, start and end – despite all sanctions and international isolation – quite a few foreign planes, as well as freight and passenger jets Iran’s state air, the private Mahan Air and other domestic airlines. However, according to Western intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards have now developed the civilian airport into a hub for arms shipments – to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Shiite Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and other militant groups in the Middle East and the Arab world.

Tehran as a hub for arms deliveries

For some months, the Quds Brigades, the elite unit of the Islamic Republic for operations abroad, have therefore taken over for this purpose a hangar in the cargo area in the east of the airport. Those coming from the city by taxi to the Khomeini Airport can catch a glimpse of the back of the inconspicuous, white-painted lightweight buildings with their red roofs. A block-shaped hangar, operated by Iran Air until about two years ago, is now to serve the Garden as a logistics center and weapons depot, as a Western diplomat of the Süddeutsche Zeitung said that has access to intelligence information.

ifmat - Iran Khomeini Airport IRGC hangar

Iran Khomeini Airport – IRGC hangar

Short-range missiles of the type Fateh-110 with more than 200 kilometers range are said to have been stored there, as well as Fajr 5 artillery rockets, as they have already used the Hezbollah and the group Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip and possibly Hamas , Even anti-missiles of the type C-802 Noor, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, mortar shells and small arms and ammunition are said to have been handled here. This arsenal of modern weapons will be loaded for the war in Syria, for militant groups in Lebanon and Gaza, not only for military transports, but also for civilian cargo and even passenger aircraft. That’s why the US sanctioned Iran’s state-owned Iran Air and its largest private airline, Mahan Air.

The secret logistics center flies open with an explosion

The secret logistics center was flown by an incident in mid-May of this year: Apparently when handling mortar shells, there was an explosion, two Revolutionary Guards were injured, one of them severe. The explosion did not cause much damage to the building, possibly only one ignition charge had gone off. But it undoubtedly furthered the interest of the intelligence services – in any case, they had to assume that the Imam Khomeini airport was used for arms smuggling, which violated UN sanctions, but also against the convention and guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO), to whose signatory states Iran counts.

US authorities have reported that Revolutionary Guards have prevented crew members and personnel of Iran Air and other Iranian airlines from extensively inspecting the cargo of aircraft – so that explosives, weapons and other dangerous armaments could be transported undisturbed on board civilian aircraft , Iranian aircraft have been forced to land several times in accordance with UN resolutions from third countries – regular searches of banned armaments, weapons and ammunition have emerged.

By using the hangar, the Quds Brigades appear to want to reduce the risk of detecting and stopping deliveries to Damascus, Beirut or the Sudanese capital Khartoum – in one case, the Israeli Air Force reportedly received a shipment of Fateh products in May 2013. 110 missiles still on the grounds of the airport of Damascus made harmless by an air raid. Here, too, the Quds brigades are said to have been assigned their own area, through which the deliveries are handled. In Sudan, the Israelis bombed at least one convoy allegedly carrying arms over Egypt into the Gaza Strip when Cairo was still ruled by Islamist President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood was supporting its spinoff in Gaza, Hamas.

The Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for sanctions violations in the US, merely stated on request that the situation be monitored. Concrete information on whether the intelligence findings will lead to new measures, you could not do. The UN Security Council’s expert committee, which oversees compliance with resolutions banning Iran’s arms exports and documenting violations in regular reports, is also likely to be interested in the allegations.

However, the US had several times intervened at the highest level in the government in Baghdad, because this was Washington’s view of Iranian machines with weapons on board despite clear evidence through their airspace to Syria. At least in one case, an Iranian aircraft refused to comply with the instructions of Iraqi authorities to land – apparently to avoid inspection of the cargo destined for Syria.

Furthermore, as the message of the Embassy further states, such a delivery is “contrary to international laws and practices”. In view of the “progress in the nuclear talks” in Vienna and “the defeat of the terrorist groups in Syria” – Iran’s name for the armed rebel groups fighting against Assad – would have “some countries and groups who have something against these talks” or the defeat of the rebels.

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