Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Israel gaffe reveals 'Iran ship photos' were forged

Press TV reports:

After Israel released photos it said proved that a huge shipment of weapons for Hezbollah came from Tehran, Iranian news agencies publish evidence showing that the photos are forged.

Israeli naval sources recently claimed that they found a large cache of Iranian-made arms when they stormed a vessel near Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.

They claimed that the ship was heading for the Hezbollah resistance movement, either in Lebanon or Syria.

Iran instantly dismissed the claims, issuing a statement with which it condemned Israel's many acts of piracy in international waters.

But the Israeli government persisted in its accusations, releasing what it claimed to be photos and documents in an effort to implicate the Iranian government in the matter.

The photos and documents were carried by a number of leading newspapers in the West, including The Los Angeles Times.

"The Israeli regime has made a fool of itself with regards to what it claims to be evidence that Iran was sending weapons to Hezbollah," IRNA news agency said on Monday.

"Take a close look at the photos, one of which merely shows a couple of boxes labeled 'Ministry of Sepah' without providing corroborative evidence that they came from Iran, and you will see the huge gaffe committed by Israel," it added.

The article explained that Iran's Ministry of Sepah gave its place to the Defense Ministry more than twenty years ago. "So this begs the question of what the emblem of a nonexistent body was doing on the cargo?"

"It seems the American daily has failed to get its facts straight, or on the other hand, maybe it is getting its cue from the Israeli leadership," said the news agency.

"In any case, the newspaper should know that if a country plans to send a secret arms cargo to another, it will not brand the shipment with a full description of the batch."

"Tel Aviv's baseless claims [about Iran providing Hezbollah with military] are evidently designed to justify another Israeli attack on Lebanon."

Yadollah Javani, the Director of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said last week that the claims were intended to divert attention from a UN report detailing Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

"These accusations are nothing but an Israeli ruse to deflect international attention from the Goldstone report as they move closer to the war crimes tribunal [at the International Criminal Court (ICC)]," noted Brigadier General Javani.

He was referring to the 575-page report headed by Jewish South African judge Richard Goldstone, which detailed numerous acts of war crimes and human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers during their incursion into Gaza.

"Israeli officials have a longstanding tendency to level baseless accusations against others when they are in serious trouble," he added.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri also dismissed the charges, questioning why the Israelis had failed to detain the crew, if the ship was supposedly carrying weapons.

Berri said that while Hezbollah has the right to obtain arms from “anywhere in the world,” it is pretty obvious that Israel made the claims to fudge the issue of its war crimes in Gaza.