Wednesday, March 05, 2014

#IranFail: Iran’s History of Unsuccessful Weapons Smuggling


Early Wednesday morning, the Israel Navy intercepted an Iranian shipment of advanced weapons intended for terrorist organizations in Gaza. This is not Iran’s first attempt at smuggling weapons. Previous attempts, had they been successful, would have armed local terror organizations with vast amounts of high-quality weaponry. Here is a select number of cases.

Naval smuggling attempts:

1. In January 2009, the Cypriot merchant vessel Monchegors, which was en route to Syria, was called for inspection at Limassol by the Cypriot authorities. Upon boarding the ship, inspectors uncovered caches of Iranian weapons. The cargo was seized and confiscated in Cyprus until July 11th 2011, when it caught fire and spontaneously combusted.
2. On November 4, 2009, the Israeli Navy boarded the MV Francop, a merchant vessel en route to Latakia in Syria. Upon inspection, IDF forces discovered 500 tons of Iranian-made weapons, secreted away in 36 unmarked cargo crates. The shipment included various rockets, cannons, hand grenades and rifle ammunition – all disguised and covered up by sacks of ordinary supplies, in a similar method to that used on the KLOS-C.
Israel Navy Forces intercepted the cargo ship, "Francop," containing a large shipment of weapons, rockets, and missiles. The ship was brought to the Navy base in the Ashdod Port for inspection. In this picture: weaponry and ammunition are disguised as civilian cargo in the hundreds of containers the ship was transporting.
The MV Francop ship
3. On March 15, 2011, Israel Navy commandos boarded the civilian vessel Victoria which was headed from Syria to the Egyptian port city Alexandria. The ship was carrying approximately 50 tons of concealed weaponry, including Iranian-made C-704 surface-to-sea missiles, mortars and ammunition. The shipment was intended for terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, such as Hamas and the PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad).

4. On January 22, 2002, Israel Navy commandos boarded the merchant vessel Karine-A which had been purchased by Palestinian owners in order to smuggle weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip. The ship had loaded its cargo in Iran, sailed through the Persian Gulf and was stopped on its way to Israel – much like the KLOS-C. The Karine-A had was shipping 50 tons of weaponry.

Smuggling attempts via land:

On January and April 2012, Turkish authorities twice seized several trucks carrying contraband weapons on their way from Iran to Syria.

Airborne smuggling attempts:

The Iranians have long been utilizing the aerial route to Lebanon in order to smuggle weapons to the area in a quick and discreet way. For over a decade, the Quds Force and the Revolutionary Guard have been shipping weapons to Syria, primarily through the companies “Iran-Air”, “Mahan-Air”, and the government-owned company “Maaraj-Air”. Since the fighting in Syria started, Iran has been delivering weapons shipments on an almost weekly basis.

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