Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri dismissed as a media hype for propaganda the western and Israeli news reports alleging that Israel has intercepted a shipload of Iranian mid-range missiles destined for the Gaza Strip.
Some western and Israeli media outlets claimed that Israel’s naval forces have intercepted an Iranian vessel carrying medium-range missiles in the Red Sea. They further claimed that the shipment was headed for the Gaza Strip via Sudan.
“The Americans and the Zionists have probably ordered to Hollywood the production of a movie with the scenario of a cargo ship carrying Iranian weapons to Gaza in Palestine,” General Jazzayeri said in Tehran on Sunday.
The military official underlined that false claims by the US and Israel will by no means influence the Iranians’ strong will and determination to gain their inalienable rights in different areas. “Their fake and repetitious media products as well as psychological operations will have no achievement other than defeat, humiliation and deepening the Iranian nation and even the world people’s mistrust of them.”
He further described the Israeli-American claim – as both have acknowledged the seizure as a coordinated joint operation – as part of their “Iranophobia scenario staged through smear campaign as well as chronic fabrications which are common in the culture of liberal democracy and western-Hebrew propaganda”.
“The westerners should seriously reconsider their warmongering policies against the freedom-seeking nations and the oppressed people of Palestine and also put aside their terrorist and inhumane acts,” General Jazzayeri said.
In relevant remarks on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham strongly rejected the same allegations, and said this allegation is not true and in principle the passage or movement of a ship carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza is not true.
“The claims and extensive anti-Iran propaganda were made while the Zionist regime’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington to attend the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),” the Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
Earlier on Wednesday, military sources in Iran also strongly dismissed the allegations.
Speaking to FNA, an informed source in the Iranian Armed Forces rejected the news reports about the shipment of Iran-made weapons as sheer lie.
The spokesperson of Hamas’ Interior Ministry said Wednesday that the seizure of the arms shipment by Israel is a pretext to justify the Gaza blockade. He said Hamas knows that Gaza’s maritime zone is under Israeli surveillance and that any ship that attempts to pass through would be stopped and that Gaza resistance forces are not so naïve as to send a large arms shipment via the sea.
The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah did not issue an official response to the takeover of the ship, but the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Palestinian officials as saying that the operation raises questions regarding the timing of the operation.
“The ship has been sailing for weeks and it is seized exactly when Netanyahu is in Washington,” the official said according to the Israeli paper, and added, “The entire operation and the reports raise many questions regarding the timing and whether the event was real or fabricated.”
Israel is unhappy with Iran’s nuclear deal with the world powers and has sought hard to ruin the agreement through meetings with senior western officials and also through its powerful lobby groups in Washington.
To the same end Tel Aviv has tried to include the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile technology in the agenda of the talks between Iran and the world powers, an issue which has been strongly opposed by Iran.
After the latest round of successful talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 powers in Vienna late last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the media that Tehran and the sextet have promised not to surprise each other by raising new agendas in their future talks.