Iranian spies 'used Red Crescent to enter war zones'
Guardian / Ewen MacAskill

Iran abused the strict neutrality of the Iranian Red Crescent (IRC) society to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, including Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel, according to claims in a leaked US embassy cable.

The society, which is supposed to be independent of government, is alleged to have provided cover for members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG), the most powerful military force in Iran, to infiltrate a number of countries, including Iraq and Lebanon, according to a well-placed Iranian source who spoke to US diplomats.

The Iranian Red Crescent has strongly denied the allegations.

The claim of involvement by Iran will infuriate Israel, which has long claimed the Palestinian Red Crescent has helped to move Palestinian fighters around. Israel views Iran as a much more serious threat than the Palestinians.

Disclosure of the allegations comes amid a standoff between western powers and Iran over its nuclear programme. Tehran denies western allegations that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

recommended by IranFirst