February 7, 2009 / 12:06 PM / 11 years ago

Iranian cargo appears to break UN ban-Cyprus source

NICOSIA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A ship detained by Cyprus appears to be carrying banned weapon-related material from Iran prohibited under United Nations resolutions, a senior Cypriot source said on Saturday.

The source said that was the advice Cyprus received from a United Nations panel monitoring compliance of sanctions. The Mediterranean island had sought guidance from the body earlier in the week after submitting a list of findings from the vessel, detained in Cyprus from Jan. 29.

"They are saying that on the basis of evidence provided the shipment is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions," the source, who requested anonymity, said.

The Cyprus-flagged "Monchegorsk" had been sailing from Iran to Syria when it was called in by Cyprus for checks.

The United States, which earlier boarded the ship in the Red Sea, said its navy found weapons on board which it could not confiscate for legal reasons.

"Now it is really up to Cyprus and other United Nations members to decide what to do with the cargo because the sanctions committee does not prescribe remedies," the source said.

A western diplomatic source said U.S. navy inspections had found arms-related material including propellant and other casings for artillery and tank rounds, as well as shell casings.

The Cypriot source could not say precisely what was in the cargo.

Israeli media had reported the vessel was suspected of carrying weapons to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Reporting by Michele Kambas)

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