An Iranian military convoy attacked in a mysterious explosion last week was delivering a load of military equipment to the Hezbollah militant group at the time of the blast, western officials told the London Daily Telegraph in a report published on Friday.
Details of the explosion, which occurred near a Revolutionary Guards’ munitions warehouse in the Tehran suburb of Khavarshahar and left 15 people dead, were blacked out even in Iranian media.
Western officials told the Telegraph that the Revolutionary Guards had launched an investigation into the cause mystery blast, which apparently took place on July 19.
“This was a massive explosion that was heard throughout Tehran,” an official told the Telegraph. “Even though lots of people were killed, the Revolutionary Guards are trying to conceal what really happened.”
The Guards are investigating the possibility that the explosion was the result of sabotage, the officials said. There have been a number of unexplained explosions in Iran of late, including on at a mosque in Shiraz during a military exhibition, and another at a missile site.
The West believes Iran has been increasing its military support of Hezbollah recently, in case of a future armed confrontation over its nuclear program.
Iran is arming Hezbollah with missiles sent via Turkey, according to intelligence received in Israel. Turkish authorities are unaware of the arms shipments, which are in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the Second Lebanon War.
Some of the weapons include long-range missiles that are being transfered through flights using Turkey’s airspace, as well as overland though Turkey, under the guise of civilian cargo. From Turkey, the missiles are transfered to Syria and then Lebanon. Turkey has not permitted the use of its territory for such transfers.
Sources in Jerusalem said earlier this year that Israel is concerned Iran might start moving weapons to Hezbollah by means of ships that anchor in the Beirut port.
The sources said oversight of marine vessels by UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) was not efficient enough to enforce an embargo on weapons shipments into Lebanon and to pinpoint such shipments.