Report: Arms ship stopped on way from Iran to Syria

YNet News (Link) (October 12, 2009)

A German merchant ship was stopped by US war ships in the waters of the Suez Bay in early October, on suspicion of carrying Iranian weapons bound for Syria, Berlin's Der Spiegel magazine reported Monday.

The shipment is a violation of a UN Resolution 1747, which ordered an arms embargo on both Tehran and Beirut, and has become a source of embarrassment for Berlin.

A German official described the incident as an "embarrassing affair," adding it was potentially damaging to trans-Atlantic relations.

According to the report, US soldiers stopped the vessel, Hansa India, at the beginning of October. Upon boarding the freighter, they found seven containers full of 7.62 millimeter ammunition suitable for AK-47 rifles and eighth container full of cartridges suitable for the manufacture of additional rounds.

The arms are believed to part of an Iranian shipment bound for either the Syrian army or Hezbollah.

The Hansa India is registered to the Hamburg-based shipping company Leonhardt and Blumberg. According to the company, the 297-foot long ship was leased to Iran's state-owned shipping company several years ago.

The US ships eventually allowed the freighter to continue on its reported destination in Malta only after the German government intervened. Upon its arrival, the containers were secured.