London: Lebanon warned "Iran telecom" was
taking over the country after uncovering a secret
communications network used by Hezbollah two years ago, a US
diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks showed Monday.
The Beirut government was shocked at the discovery in
April 2008 of the extensive communications system used by the
powerful Shiite party, which receives military and financial
support from Iran, according to the cable.
Lebanon passed on information about the fibre optics
network, allegedly financed by Tehran, to the US and Saudi
Arabia, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was "stunned" by
the discovery, according to the correspondence revealed in
Britain`s Guardian newspaper.
Marwan Hamadeh, the Lebanese minister of communications,
warned the US charge d`affaires of the risks after Hezbollah
indicated it would see any action against the telecoms network
as "equal to an Israeli act of aggression," said the cable.
According to the correspondence, the minister highlighted
"the system as a strategic victory for Iran, since it creates
an important Iranian outpost in Lebanon, bypassing Syria.
"He sees the value for the Iranians as strategic, rather
than technical or economic."
But for Hezbollah it was "the final step in creating a
nation state," according to the cable.
"Hizballah now has an army and weapons, a television
station, an education system, hospitals, social services, a
financial system, and a telecommunications system."
Hamadeh described the US cable quoting him as "a story
full of slanders and fabrications" and declined to comment
further, according to the Guardian, citing Lebanese