German Ship Transporting Arms for Iran; German registry,
In an operation reported on by SPIEGEL over the weekend, US soldiers entered the freighter Hansa India in the Gulf of Suez at the beginning of October and discovered seven containers full of 7.62 millimeter ammunition suitable for Kalashnikov rifles. An eighth container was full of cartridges suitable for the manufacture of additional rounds. The incident is particularly awkward for Berlin as the Hansa India is registered to the Hamburg-based shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg.
Investigators suspect that the arms were part of an Iranian shipment bound for either the Syrian army or for Hezbollah, the militant Islamist group. US officials have pointed out that the delivery is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibits arms shipments either into or out of Iran.
According to Leonhardt & Blumberg, the 243-meter-long (297-foot-long) ship has for years been under charter to the state-owned shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Two US warships halted the Hansa India after receiving a tip-off from intelligence services.
Following an intervention by the German government, the US allowed the ship to continue on to its destination in Malta, where the containers were secured.
Ed Morrissey points out that
the Syrian army is almost certainly not the intended client. They manufacture their own 7.62 mm cartridges and don’t need to import them. That leaves Hezbollah…
Earlier on Monday, I reported that Britain had decided to boycott Islamic Republic of Iran shipping lines. I guess now we know why.
As you may remember, last year Italian daily La Stampa revealed how Iran is using Venezuela to duck UN sanctions.