US reminds Iran to halt any arms smuggling

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2011 8:59 PM

The Obama administration is implicitly criticizing Iran after Israel intercepted a ship carrying weapons it said was bound for Palestinian militants in Gaza.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement late Wednesday that the U.S. condemns illicit smuggling of arms and ammunition. He said U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran, in particular, from exporting weapons and that "any activity to the contrary is another example of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region."

Israel said the ship intercepted Tuesday in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea had roughly 2,500 mortar shells, nearly 75,000 bullets and six anti-ship missiles. It said the weapons were sent by Iran by way of Syria, and that the advanced anti-ship missiles could have challenged Israeli enforcement of a naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.