Rifi Reiterates Iran Sent Ammonium Nitrates after Hizbullah Lawsuit
Former justice minister and ex-Internal Security Forces head Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi said Thursday that he has testified before Judge Fadi Sawwan that Iran had sent the ammonium nitrate shipment that eventually caused the August 4 catastrophic explosion at Beirut’s port.
“As I said in my testimony before Judicial Investigator Judge Fadi Sawwan, I reiterate that the ammonium nitrates were sent to Lebanon by the Iranian revolutionary guard for the benefit of Hizbullah,” Rifi said in a statement.
The statement comes in response to a lawsuit filed against him by the Gathering of Hizbullah’s Lawyers. The lawsuit accuses Rifi of “incitement, stirring discord and jeopardizing civil peace” in connection with similar accusations he made in the wake of the blast.
In his statement on Thursday, Rifi said he told Sawwan that quantities from the ammonium nitrate shipment had been used by the Syrian regime and other quantities had been “sent by Hizbullah to its terrorist groups in Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany and other Arab and foreign countries.”
“Security officials know that Hizbullah controls Beirut port for smuggling and importing explosive material, where it has established a security zone and a private customs zone,” Rifi added.
“At last Hizbullah has discovered that there is a judiciary in Lebanon, imagining that it can subjugate it and turn it into one of its intimidation and elimination tools,” the former minister went on to say.
Describing Hizbullah’s decision to resort to the judiciary as a good move, Rifi noted that he had called on the party to “return to Lebanon and hand over the convict in the crime of the assassination of martyr premier Rafik Hariri and the suspects in the assassination attempt against minister Boutros Harb and other crimes.”
He added: “Today I call on Judge Sawwan to publish my testimony publicly and I tell Hizbullah not to think that it has managed to limit the probe into the crime of the century at the port to some officials who knew of the presence of the ammonium bomb but remained silent.”
“The investigation will sooner or later reveal who brought the nitrates and who stored, protected and used them, and it will unveil the criminal who intimidated the negligent officials and those who remained silent out of fear or collusion,” Rifi went on to say.
Addressing Hizbullah, he added: “We have not and will not fear your assassinations and intimidation, and the innocent martyrs and wounded of the port will get justice and the truth shall be unveiled.”