Conflicting reports on Iran ship

Statements from Teheran on sailing of Gaza aid flotilla differ.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 27, 2010 18:05
2 minute read.
Iranian protestors burn a representative of an Isr

Flag Burning 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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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 "restrictions."

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.

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