June 7, 2010
Press TV reports today that two Iranian aid ships carrying humanitarian relief and medical supplies for the people of Gaza have departed from Iran. The nation’s Red Crescent announced Monday the cargo includes food, medicine and appliances and will be accompanied by a group of Iranian doctors and relief workers.
|Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is loyal to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has said the Gaza flotilla attack reveals how “barbaric the Zionists are.”|
In a dramatic new development, an aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, has pledged Tehran would send Revolutionary Guard units to escort Gaza aid convoys. “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenseless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength,” Ali Shirazi, who is Khamenei’s personal representative to the guards corps, according to the Guardian.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are loyal to the supreme leader Khamenei. The paramilitary unit has a command structure outside Iran’s regular armed forces. Khamenei has said the Gaza flotilla attack reveals how “barbaric the Zionists are.”
Any Iranian involvement in the humanitarian effort breaking the Gaza blockade would undoubtedly elicit a strong response from Israel. Iran and Israel have not had diplomatic ties since the Shah was desposed during the Iranian revolution in 1979.
Iran has used Israel’s deadly raid on an earlier Gaza aid flotilla to criticize the state. Iran’s foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, told the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah on Sunday that Israel’s crime was “another instance of the Zionist regime’s brazen and merciless treatment of Muslims, especially the oppressed Palestinian people.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Mottaki called for a UN resolution condemning Israel at the same time the security council is discussing imposing new sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear energy program. Israel has rejected calls for an international investigation of the deadly attack.
“The aid consists of food and medical supplies, which will be transported into Gaza via the Rafah border in Egypt before the week is through,” Iran’s Red Crescent director Abdolraoof Adibzadeh told Press TV. “Iran is also preparing to dispatch a navy hospital ship for the people of Gaza, which will have onboard doctors, nurses and all the medical equipment required for emergency surgeries and procedures.”
Numerous shipments to break the Gaza blockade are currently underway. Two Lebanese organizations have pledged to send boats in the next few days. Viva Palestina founder George Galloway has announced two simultaneous convoys “one by land via Egypt and the other by sea” would set out in September to break the Gaza blockade. The sea convoy of up to 60 ships will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo and volunteers, according to the Guardian. Reporters Without Borders meanwhile is assembling 25 European activists and 50 journalists to leave in a boat from Beirut.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Clinton said she believes Iran will “pull some stunt” in the next few days as the United Nations prepares further sanctions in response to Iran’s nuclear program. The U.S. plans to bring a fourth sanctions resolution to a U.N. Security Council vote in the coming days.
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