Behnam Shahariari - July 2016
Over the past year, Behnam Shahariari has acquired the status of having the most influence over the strategic and covert ties between the IRGC and Hezbollah. Shahariari is the dominant figure in directing the smuggling of Iranian strategic weapons into Lebanon via Syria.In addition to the weapons smuggling, Shahariari is also building and directing the infrastructure enabling Quds Force to transfer sensitive weapons from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon. For this purpose, Shahariari has set up an extensive network of ties for smuggling goods in Syria and in Lebanon. This smuggling network is supported by various cover companies that enable large amounts of money to be transferred between the organizations and its senior members.Shahariari is an Iranian key figure vis-a-vis Hezbollah, supported by his direct managers, particularly Soleimani, who has recently experienced difficulties in pursuing his tasks:
- Lebanon (February 2015): Shahariari was in charge of Iranian weapons shipments that arrived at the International airport in Beirut. This covert activity was recently exposed by the media worldwide, and caused security personnel at the airport to issue a directive to increase monitoring of Iranians landing in Beirut.
- Yemen (April 2015): Shahariari received responsibility for the task of transferring weapons shipments from Iran to the Houthi forces in Yemen, and he personally accompanied the convoys. Ship convoys he led were forced to turn back twice without reaching their destination.
- Syria (May 2015): special weapons shipment that Shahariari was responsible for transferring from Iran to Syria were foiled when they reached Damascus.Shahariari's unit, Unit 190, is in charge of smuggling Iranian weapons to countries and organizations supported by Tehran. An intensive and aggressive investigation into this unit has been underway for the past few months. The investigation has included searches of the unit's offices, and led to the detention of several Unit 190 operatives.