An Iranian organization announced Thursday evening that the vessel carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, which was to have started its journey on Sunday from Iran, will not set sail. An Iranian member of parliament said a different boat, carrying four Iranian lawmakers and many other Iranians would set off from Turkey instead.
The secretary general of an Iranian organization supporting Palestinians, Hussein Sheikh el-Islam, said during a press conference that the main reason for the cancellation was "the violent and inhuman attitude of the Zionist regime to humanitarian aid." The vessel's intended voyage was originally announced by the Iranian Red Crescent.
"The vessel was supposed to leave for Gaza on Thursday, but because of hurdles put up by the Zionist regime regarding the impossibility of getting some of the goods (into the Strip), it was decided to postpone the departure to Sunday, but now this too will not happen," Sheikh el-Islam was quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA.
"Israel sent a letter to the UN announcing that the arrival of vessels from Lebanon and Iran to the Gaza area would be a sign of war and it would act against them," he added.
Sheikh el-Islam, former Iranian ambassador to Syria and currently secretary-general of the international committee for the support of the Palestinian intifada in Iran, said the aid would be sent in other ways, apparently overland or by air.
"The Zionist regime has turned assistance to people under siege in Gaza into a political issue, and we do not want to turn such humanitarian acts into political acts because the most important thing is breaking the Gaza blockade," he said.
"The aid collected by the Red Crescent was to have included food products, medicines and construction materials, among other things," he continued. "The fact that the Zionist regime is in crisis and each day retreats from its stated positions shows that it is nearing the end of its life and the opposition in Palestine will be victorious."
However, other Iranian figures are not ready to give up. Iranian Member of Parliament Mahmoud Ahmadi clarified that another Iranian vessel is due to leave next Tuesday or Wednesday to show solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip. The ship will carry some 50-60 Iranians, food products and medicines. It will sail from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and from there to Gaza.