Conflicting reports about whether or not Iran will be sending a ship with humanitarian aid to attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip were given by officials from Teheran on Sunday.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs Reza Shibani said Sunday that Iran will send a ship with humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, denying reports that the Iranian flotilla had been canceled, Israel Radio reported.
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Shibani said that the timing of the flotilla leaving from his country will depend on when various other flotillas are planning to set sail for Gaza.
He added that Teheran asked Egypt if they would allow Iran to send
humanitarian aid to Gaza through the air and is awaiting a reply.
The Iranian Red Crescent announced earlier on Sunday that the aid ship
it intended to send to Gaza will be postponed after Egypt refused to
allow any vessels belonging to the Iranian organization from entering
the Suez Canal.
"The ship's departure has been postponed because of more restrictions
imposed by the Zionist occupying regime on the movement of aid to Gaza
and prevention of the ship from using the Suez Canal," the Iranian Red
Crescent said in a statement sent to AFP.
On Saturday another Iranian lawmaker said that the Islamic Republic
would not be sending a blockade-busting ship to Gaza , citing Israeli
Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that
instead of sending a ship, an Iranian delegation of lawmakers would
travel to Lebanon and sail on one of the aid ships expected to head to
Gaza from there.
The Iranian ship called "Infants of Gaza" had been expected to sail
Sunday for Gaza carrying 1,100 tons of relief supplies and 10
pro-Palestinian activists but plans were canceled "due to restrictions
imposed by the occupying Zionist regime," Bighash said.
In Lebanon, organizers of the ship, "Julia," said they plan to sail in
the next few days but said they had nothing to do with Iran. A second
ship will only be transporting women, while a third ship will include
parliamentarians from the Middle East and Europe. It is not clear when
that ship will sail.