Turkey seizes illegal Iranian arms
16 / 08 / 2012
SUSPICIONS about illegal arms in the cargo hold on an Iranian aircraft bound for Syria have been confirmed.
The Turkish Air Force escorted the YasAir Cargo Airlines Ilyushin-76 aircraft to the ground and inspected the cargo on 21 March.
Turkey has since informed a UN Security Council panel of its confiscation of the cache of weapons, documented as spare auto parts, Iran was attempting to export in breach of a UN arms embargo.
The aircraft was bound for Aleppo, Syria, and was given permission to pass through Turkish airspace provided it made a technical stop at Diyarbakir airport.
In total, Turkish authorities seized 60 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, 14 BKC/Bixi machine guns, nearly 8,000 rounds of BKC/AK-47 ammunition, 560 60-mm mortar shells, and 1,288 120-mm mortar shells.
The crew was detained and interrogated by the Diyarbakir State Prosecutor and denied any knowledge about the prohibited items on board, as well as the identity of the consignor or consignee. The crew was released and permitted to return to Tehran on 22 March, but the case is still being investigated.