Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hooray for Cyprus - enforcing sanctions against Iran

Remember that the US navy intercepted an Iranian ship (this one?) but let it go.
Last update - 18:17 07/02/2009       
UN: Cargo of Iranian ship seized en route to Gaza violates resolution 1747
By The Associated Press

The sanctions department of the United Nations Security Council on Saturday informed Cyprus that the cargo of the Iranian ship seized en route to Gaza in late January violates UNSC resolution 1747, which forbids the trafficking of weapons with Iran.
The ship will not be returned to Iran, Cypriot officials said Saturday, but they refused to say what exactly was found onboard the boat or whether the cargo contravened UN resolutions.
Cyprus inspected the Monchegorsk twice after it arrivedafter it arrived Jan. 29 under suspicion of ferrying weapons from Iran to Hamas fighters in Gaza. The U.S. military stopped the ship last month in the Red Sea, and said it found artillery shells and other arms aboard. But it could not legally detain the ship, which continued to Port Said, Egypt, and then to Cyprus.
Authorities will decide what to do with the cargo once they have finished searching the ship, Cyprus' President Dimitris Christofias said, without
saying how long that could take.
One option could be to confiscate the cargo, the president said. But Cyprus has ruled out sending the shipment back to Iran, Christofias' adviser George Iacovou said Saturday, according to state-run CyBC radio.
Christofias said Cyprus had received clear guidance from the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on whether the cargo breached sanctions barring Iran from sending arms abroad, but he refused to give any details or say what was advised.
The Cyprus-flagged ship is now anchored off the port of Limassol under tight security.
Cyprus is also consulting with the UN Security Council on the issue, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.
"The Cyprus Republic will do what it must do and will decide very soon," Stefanou told a news briefing.

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