Qeshm Fars Air, a civilian Iranian aviation company, has been smuggling arms to the Hezbollah terror group and to Iranian weapons factories in Lebanon, Fox News reported Monday, Western intelligence sources. The sources noted two unusual Qeshm Fars Air flights from Tehran to Beirut’s international airport over the past two months.
The first flight, a Boeing 747, left an Iranian air force base in Tehran on July 9, stopped for a short layover at Damascus international airport, and proceeded, using an “uncharacteristic flight path” to land at Beirut international airport.
Fox News, which obtained the flight data, reported that the civilian 747’s route was over northern Lebanon, away from the civil aviation flight paths.
The second flight, which landed in Beirut on August 2, arriving directly from Tehran, also followed an unusual route north of Syria.
A Western intelligence source told Fix News: “The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West’s abilities to track them down.”
The US, Israel, and other Western intelligence sources have evidence showing that the Qeshm Fars Air flights hauled components for manufacturing precise weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon, and that Iran is operating weapons factories in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
Last week, Reuters reported that in Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to Shiite militias in Iraq.
Fars Air Qeshm was established in 2003 with the aim of creating efficient passenger and cargo services serving Qeshm Island. It temporarily ceased operations in 2013 and restarted in March 2017. It is based in Tehran, with two Boeing 747-281F Passenger / cargo aircraft. Western intelligence sources believe it is a pseudo-civilian airline used for arms-smuggling by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Al-Quds force.