Cyprus finds no arms on Iranian ship
February 15, 2009
Iran had been accused of exporting arms to Gaza and Lebanon before it was revealed that no weapons were onboard the Monchegorsk.Officials in Cyprus say they have found no weapons onboard an Iranian ship that had been the source of arms export allegations.
""There are no weapons on board, but there is material which could be used for the manufacture of ammunitions,"" Cypriot Defense Minister Costas Papacostas told reporters on Friday.
Papacostas said more that 90 containers of the ship's cargo would be stored in a naval base on the southern island of Limassol, where the vessel has docked.
The Cypriot-flagged ship, Monchegorsk, reached Cyprus in the last days of January after it was inspected by U.S. naval personnel in the Red Sea.
At the time, Israeli media cited U.S. military officials as claiming that the vessel was traveling from Iran to Syria while carrying weapons for the Hamas in Gaza and the Hezbollah in Lebanon -- a charge the Iranian Foreign Ministry has denied.
On Friday, Cypriot authorities ordered the ship's cargo to be unloaded after issuing a statement that the Monchegorsk was in violation of a UN resolution banning Iranian arms exports.
Under pressure from the United States, the UN Security Council has passed several resolutions against Iran over its nuclear program. The resolutions include a ban on arms exports.
Iranian nuclear activities are currently under the constant supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, which has found no diversion in Iran's nuclear program.
(Source: Press TV)