Iran ship
Photo: AP

Cyprus: Iran ship can leave without suspect cargo

Ship suspected of transporting Iranian arms to Gaza free to leave Cyprus, official says

A Cypriot official says a ship suspected of transporting Iranian arms to Gaza is free to leave the island, as its cargo has been unloaded.


Senior Merchant Shipping Department official Andreas Constantinou said Wednesday it is now up to the owners of the Cyprus-flagged Monchegorsk to decide when and where to go.


The Monchegorsk has been anchored off Limassol for five days. More than 90 containers of what Cypriot officials only described as "material that could be used to make munitions" were unloaded and stored at a naval base.


The government said the ship breached a United Nations ban on Iranian arms exports.


Shortly after the ship was detained, a senior Cypriot source said The source said that was the advice Cyprus received from a United Nations panel monitoring compliance of sanctions. The Mediterranean island had sought guidance from the body earlier in the week after submitting a list of findings from the vessel, detained in Cyprus from Jan. 29.


The United States military said it found artillery shells and other arms aboard the ship it said was headed for Syria after stopping it last month in the Red Sea.


Last Friday, Cyprus unloaded a cargo of banned weapons-related material off the Iranian ship. A number of the vessel's containers, escorted by police, were transported to warehouses of the Cyprus National Guard, the Republic’s armed forces, a local news agency reported.


Diplomatic sources said the Monchegorsk was carrying conventional weapons.


Ynet and Reuters contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 02.18.09, 20:44
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