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Following Iraqi Shi’ite Militias, Hezbollah Shows Up in Iran 'for Flood Relief'

FILE - Hezbollah fighters parade in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 12, 2010.

The representative of the Lebanese Hezbollah in Iran says a significant number of young Lebanese are currently in Iran, helping relief operations for the flood-stricken people.

Speaking to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-run Tasnin news agency, Sheik Mo'ein Daqiq said on Tuesday that the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has called upon all young Lebanese and members of the armed group to join Iranian Armed forces, "jihadi" elements, and Iranian Red Crescent to help the flood-hit Iranians.

"Currently, a significant number of young Lebanese are involved in relief operations across Iran, while many more are on their way to the flood-stricken regions in the country," Sheik Daqiq maintained.

Hezbollah is almost exclusively made of Lebanon’s Shi’ites and is dependent on Iran’s Islamic Republic for financial and military resources.

The news about the arrival of the Lebanese allies of the Islamic Republic follows Iraqi Shi’ite militia crossing into Iran in their hundreds since last week, which has led to passionate reactions among opponents of the Iranian regime and social media users.

Meanwhile, the senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Tuesday, April 16, "It is natural that the forces of Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces or PMF) are present at the front lines to help our flood-hit people."

Hashd al-Shaabi is an armed group established by Iran's Islamic republic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force.

"PMF members were invited by the Chief Commander of Qods Force, IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani, to help Iranian relief operations," ultraconservative daily Kayhan reported.

Furthermore, Kayhan said that the members of Liwa Fatemiyoun (Fatemiyoun Division) have also rushed to participate in relief operations across the country.

The Division is an armed group of mainly Afhan Shi'ites established by Quds Force to fight against anti-Bashar al-Assad forces along with the IRGC in Syria.

However, critics say that Iran, with hundreds of thousands of military personnel does not need to invite foreign militia fighters to come to help relief efforts.

Some critics charge that the real reason for the presence of loyal foreign militias, under the cover of flood relief, is to prevent protests by Iran’s flood-stricken population. The disaster of three weeks of floods has left millions in need of humanitarian and reconstruction needs. The government has failed to react to the crisis in a coordinated and efficient manner, angering the population.

Last week there were protests in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, with a large crowd marching down the streets of the provincial capital Ahvaz.

On March 7, a conservative cleric warned Iranians that if they stop supporting the regime “the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, Afghan Fatemiyoun, Pakistani Zeinabiyoun Brigade, and Houthi Yemenis will come and support it."

Exiled prince and the heir of the Iranian throne, Reza Pahlavi, also charged on Sunday that these foreign armed forces might be deployed for suppressing protesters in the flood-stricken regions of the country.

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