Pompeo Warns Lebanon of Iranian Weapons Factory

YERUSHALAYIM -
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with military personnel before boarding his plane in Beirut, March 23. (Reuters/Jim Young/Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a recent visit to Beirut that Iran and Hezbollah have built a clandestine rocket factory in his country, according to Channel 13.

Pompeo reportedly conveyed the information, given to him by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Yerushalayim, prior to the Beirut trip about 10 days ago. The top American diplomat sought to impress on Hariri the potential danger for Lebanon in harboring Iranian military facilities, as Israel will not passively allow it to continue.

Hezbollah reportedly closed similar factories after PM Netanyahu revealed their existence in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September.

One of those sites, according to Netanyahu, was inside a football stadium, a second site near Rafic Hariri International Airport, and a third about 1500 feet from the airport’s landing strip, in the heart of the Maaganah residential neighborhood.

“Pompeo made clear to senior officials in Beirut that Hezbollah is doing something inside Lebanon, and the danger of escalation against Israel as a result of this is real,” a source was quoted as saying in Monday’s report. “We made sure all the information we have in this context (of the missile factory) is also in the hands of the Lebanese government.”

The U.S. State Department would not be drawn on the report, saying only: “We do not give details about the contents of quiet diplomatic contacts.”