Maj. General Ashraf Rifi

Former justice minister and retired Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi revealed 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.

He urged in a statement Judge Sawan to publish his testimony publicly :

“Today I call on Judge Sawwan to publish my testimony publicly and I tell Hezbollah 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.”

“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 Hezbollah,” Rifi said in his statement .

This August 5, 2020 file photo, is the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. 200 killed , several still missing , 6500 Injured after 2,755 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded . They were stored there for nearly 7 years. The shelf life of the product is supposed to be 6 months according to experts . After 6 months it starts solidifying and becomes more explodable . Hezbollah’s allies President Michel Aoun and PM Diab knew about the Ammonium Nitrate 2 weeks before the explosion but did nothing about it . Judge Fadi Sawan who is in charge of the investigation charged Diab , former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and former public works ministers Ghazi Zeaiter and Youssef Finianos with negligence over the explosion . The politicians behind the charged politicians attacked the judge and accused him of politicizing the issue (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, Beirut, Lebanon(Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP)

His statement comes in response to a lawsuit filed against him by the Gathering of Hezbollah ’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 Hezbollah to its terrorist groups in Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany and other Arab and foreign countries.”

“Security officials know that Hezbollah 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 Hezbollah 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 said in tweet

Describing Hezbollah’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 Salim Jamil Ayyash 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.”

“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 Hezbollah, 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.”

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