Iran General NewsIran denies Cypriot-flagged ship carrying arms to Gaza

Iran denies Cypriot-flagged ship carrying arms to Gaza

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ImageAFP: Iran denied on Wednesday that a ship being detained by Cypriot authorities reportedly by request of the United States and Israel was carrying weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran denied on Wednesday that a ship being detained by Cypriot authorities reportedly by request of the United States and Israel was carrying weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"The ship was not taking arms and weapons (to Gaza)," foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghasghavi told a news conference.

He said the Cypriot authorities were only asking about the consignment and "if it was carrying weapons things would have been clear."

Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou has said a UN committee ruled that the Cypriot-flagged ship currently anchored off the southern port of Limassol was in "clear" breach of UN sanctions but did not say against which country.

A senior Cypriot official had confirmed to AFP that the shipment, intercepted in the Red Sea two weeks ago, was in breach of a ban on Iranian arms exports.

Israeli media has reported that Monchegorsk was suspected of carrying Iranian arms for Gaza and was detained by the Cypriot authorities in response to requests from United States and Israel.

Sending the shipment back has been ruled out, so Cyprus needs to decide whether it will confiscate the cargo or send it to a third country following consultations with UN Security Council members.

Israel has long accused Iran of arming the Islamists in Gaza, a claim Tehran denies even though it says it offers moral support to Hamas.

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