Tehran's preparations for sending an aid convoy to Gaza are at their peak, and two organizations plan to send ships to the Strip. One of the ships seems to have already set sail, and the other is slated to leave this Saturday. They are expected to arrive at Gaza's shores via the Red Sea.
"The ship will depart for Gaza in a special ceremony that will be attended by thousands of people at the start of next week," a statement on the Iranian Red Crescent's website said on Wednesday.
The Iranian work week begins on Saturday, but the statement did not specify which day the ship will leave. The organization said earlier this week that it is still waiting for a green light from the Iranian Foreign Ministry before setting sail.
According to the statement, the ship is to leave from the Bandar-Abbas Port in southern Iran and travel directly to the Gaza Strip. The first ship will be carrying humanitarian aid for the residents of the Strip, as well as a small team of doctors and aid workers. Alongside the humanitarian aid, gifts will be sent to the children in Gaza, including baby cloths, toys and dolls.
In addition, the Iranian Red Crescent's youth organization said that "in light of the possibility that the Zionist regime may do something evil," they plan to send no more than 10 volunteers who have already undergone training. Their ages were not specified.
The Iranian Red Crescent said that so far, over 155,000 volunteers have signed up for the Gaza flotilla. Registration will continue for a few more days, and is meant mainly as a way for Iranian citizens to identify with the residents of the Gaza Strip.
The organization plans to send another ship to Gaza, most likely a week later, carrying more aid workers such as doctors and volunteers.
Iran is eager to show that it cares more for the Palestinians than Turkey does, and is working fervently to have the blockade on the Strip lifted.
Earlier this week another Iranian ship reportedly set sail for Gaza. The ship set sail on behalf of another organization that is not affiliated with the government, by the name of "The Iranian Company for the Protection of the Palestinian Nation."
The organization's head said this week that it plans to send aid to Gaza through land to Turkey, and from there set sail to Gaza, but did not specify when this would take place.