Tehran: Iran has cancelled sending an aid
ship to the Gaza Strip which had been scheduled to set sail
for the Palestinian territory on Sunday, state news agency
"The trip is not going to happen," Hossein Sheikholeslam,
secretary general of the International Conference for the
Support of the Palestinian Intifada, an Iranian body set up by
parliament, told reporters yesterday, IRNA said.
He said the ship had originally been due to depart
yesterday, but "due to restrictions from the occupying Zionist
regime, it was decided that this ship would leave on Sunday.
But now the trip is not going to happen."
Sheikholeslam, speaking in the northern Iranian city of
Rasht, said that the aid supplies that had been collected for
the voyage will be sent by other means to Gaza.
"The Zionist regime has made the blockade a political
issue and we do not wish to politicise this kind of
humanitarian aid because the most important thing for us is to
break the blockade of Gaza," he said.
He said the voyage was cancelled as Israel "had sent a
letter to the United Nations saying that the presence of
Iranian and Lebanese ships in the Gaza area will be considered
a declaration of war on that regime and it will confront
it," IRNA quoted him as saying.
"In order to deprive the Zionist regime of any excuse,
the aid collected for the oppressed people of Gaza will be
delivered to them by other means without mentioning the name
On Tuesday, Iranian Red Crescent official Abdolrauf
Adibzadeh had said that the ship, "Gaza Children", would leave
on Sunday from the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas.
It was to have carried 1,100 tonnes of aid including
medicine and foodstuffs, he said.