BEIRUT: Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders paid tribute Wednesday to slain Hezbollah commander Hassan Hawlo al-Lakkis, with Iran’s defense minister saying he played a key role as part of the “first nucleus” of the Lebanese resistance.
Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan recounted his own experience as part of the Revolutionary Guard group that came to Lebanon in the 1980s to train members of what would eventually become Hezbollah, Iranian media reported.
“The first nucleus of the Lebanese resistance trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Lebanon [included] martyr Sayyed Abbas Musawi and martyr Hassan Lakkis,” Dehqan was quoted as saying by the Tasnim News Agency, in reference to a founder and former secretary-general of Hezbollah.
“During the time I was in Lebanon, Hassan Lakkis was my office’s chief of staff. This great martyr was loving, he didn’t get tired and he loved martyrdom,” Dehqan said.
The defense minister was speaking during a ceremony in Tehran honoring Lakkis, as well as Ahmad Kazemi, an Iranian commander who died in a 2006 plane crash.
Lakkis was gunned down on Dec. 4 outside his home in Hadath, south of Beirut. Hezbollah blamed Israel for the assassination.
The top brass of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard attended the ceremony, including the commanders of the Quds Force, navy, air and land forces. The family of Lakkis also attended, according to the reports.
Dehqan said the West’s efforts to open dialogue with Tehran demonstrated Iran’s military prowess.
“We don’t need nuclear weapons because we have weapons that in unconventional warfare can defeat America,” he said. “Our power is clear because even the biggest countries must come and sit and talk with us.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 09, 2014, on page 3.