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Wikileaks cables: Lebanon feared Iran-funded fibre

The Lebanese government complained in 2008 that Hezbollah had set up an Iran-funded fibre network, along with pockets of WiMax coverage, a cable uncovered through Wikileaks has shown.According to the cable, the fibre network covered the whole of Lebanon and WiMax covered Beirut's southern suburbs.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

The Lebanese government complained in 2008 that Hezbollah had set up an Iran-funded fibre network, along with pockets of WiMax coverage, a cable uncovered through Wikileaks has shown.

According to the cable, the fibre network covered the whole of Lebanon and WiMax covered Beirut's southern suburbs. It appears that the government's telecoms minister, Marwan Hamadeh, complained about the profusion of connectivity to Lebanese allies including France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

"Iran Telecom is taking over the country!", Hamadeh is quoted as exclaiming. Iran is a prime backer of Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon and is classified by many countries including the US and UK as a terrorist organisation.

Hamadeh considered having the fibre-optic cables cut, but decided not to as Hezbollah — which apparently saw the network as integral to helping it defend Lebanon — indicated this would be taken as "an Israeli act of aggression". According to Hamadeh, money for the network came from the Iranian Fund for the Reconstruction of Lebanon, which also paid for the rebuilding of roads and bridges after the July 2006 war with Israel.

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