Moon of Alabama
February 9, 2009

Haaretz had this funny tale a few days ago and it is now spreading in U.S. media via UPI. Haaretz wrote:

Greece has been holding a ship bound for Iran for more than a month because its cargo was found to contain components for surface-to-surface missiles.

The detention of the Iran-bound ship was reported in the Greek paper Elefterotipia. According to the paper, the Susanna arrived at a port near Athens on December 10 and has been held ever since due to suspicions that it was carrying components for ballistic missiles. An Israeli government source confirmed the report, but declined to elaborate due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The Susanna departed from Slovenia in November, and its final destination was Bandar Abbas in Iran. The Greeks detained it due to intelligence from UN agencies indicating that it was carrying illegal cargo.

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Wow – really a big find. That will certainly stop the Iranians from making some bad-ass missiles.

But parts to make ballistic rockets? What parts? Guidance systems? Special rocket motors?

A search of the ship found 80 tons of CK22 steel, which can be used to make warheads or fuel pods for surface-to-surface missiles.


CK 22 steel is a simple standardized product. The EU norm number for it is EN 10083, the U.S. equivalent is SAE 1020, 1023. Any decent steel mill produces these. Its application:

Plain carbon steel for mechanical engineering and automotive components.

As a carbon steel CK22 is corrosive and would therefore not be used to hold chemically aggressive rocket fuel. Moreover, why would one use heavy steel tanks in a rocket instead of some lighter material like coated aluminum?

And the really big question is why would Iran import such dangerous stuff when it has a steel output of some 10 million tons per year on its own and even offers CK22 and similar products for export from companies like the Khouzestan Steel Company?

The original Greek report (Google translation) has a nice scare graphic showing steel-plates and missiles. If I understand the report correctly the ship, unlike Haaretz claims, was not detained.

So this is just another story to scare little children.

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