Cyprus ship violates UN sanctions on Iran: Cypriot official | world | Hindustan Times
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Cyprus ship violates UN sanctions on Iran: Cypriot official

world Updated: Feb 07, 2009 22:02 IST

A United Nations committee has ruled that a Cypriot-flagged ship intercepted in the Red Sea two weeks ago was in breach of UN sanctions on Iran, a senior Cypriot official told AFP on Saturday.

"The shipment was found to be in violation of Security Council resolutions against Iran," the official told AFP on condition of anonimity.

The Russian-owned Monchegorsk, currently docked off Limassol port, is reportedly laden with Iran weapons, which the Islamic Republic is barred by the UN from exporting.

According to Israeli media, the vessel was taking the amunitions to Gaza.

The Cypriot official added: "Cyprus can continue the search to find new evidence as only 30 of the 60 containers have been searched and this will be done and a decision taken in the next couple of days."

Sending the shipment back does not "appear to be an available option" so Cyprus needs to decide whether it will confiscate the cargo or send it somewhere else following consultations with Security Council members, he said.

Cyprus President Demetris Christofias told reporters on Saturday that the position of the UN sanctions committee was "one of the clearest that could be made".

He did not elaborate but said it is up to Cyprus to decide on the next step.

Nicosia sought a UN ruling after carrying out two searches on the Monchegorsk on January 29 and February 2.

Israeli news reports said the ship was suspected of carrying a shipment of Iranian arms for Gaza and was detained by Cypriot authorities in response to requests from the US and Israeli authorities.

The US military reportedly boarded the ship two weeks ago in the Red Sea and discovered Iranian amunitions.