Iran Sends Aid Ships to Gaza

Published: June 14th 2010
in News » World

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran is now sending aid ships to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza strip, it was announced on Monday.


Israel already accuses Iran of arming Gaza’s Hamas militants, and will likely view the move as a provocation.


The first ship left port on Sunday, and included items like building materials, toys and food, according to the state radio report. The second boat is expected to leave by Friday. Both will be part of international efforts to break the Gaza blockade.


 "Until the end of the Gaza blockade, Iran will continue to ship aid," said an official at Iran's Society for the Defense of the Palestinian Nation.


Israel has long suspected Iran of supplying weapons to Hamas militants in Gaza; the country maintains, however, that it has only provided support in an unarmed, moral capacity.


Two weeks ago, a flotilla of Turkish aid attempted to breach the Gaza border; however nine individuals were killed in a clash with Israeli forces, when they refused to cooperate with inspection and came at those who boarded the ship with violence.


According to an official of the Iranian Red Crescent Society's youth organization said some 100,000 Iranians had volunteered as potential crew for aid ships, Iran Daily reported.


A senior Iranian official told reporters that Iran's Revolutionary Guards were ready to provide military escort to aid ships heading to Gaza if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commanded as such.


However, the Guards' deputy head, Hossein Salami, said there were no plans to do so. "Such a thing is not on our agenda," he told the IRNA news agency on Monday.


Any such military mobilization would likely incite major confrontation with Israel.

Related articles: (Ayatollah, flotilla, Revolutionary Guard, Iran, Gaza)

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