Wednesday, January 28, 2009

REUTERS - Iran protests to Egypt over Gaza aid ship

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TEHRAN - Iran lodged a protest with Egypt on Tuesday over its failure to allow an Iranian ship to unload aid for Gaza in an Egyptian port, Iranian media reported.

Israel, which Iran does not recognise, ordered the Iranian ship away from the Gaza area in mid-January.

Iran said at the time that the vessel would head for Egypt, the only other country to have a border with the Gaza Strip.

Iran sought permission to have the ship unload in an Egyptian port, but this was not forthcoming, the reports said.

They said the head of the Egyptian interests section in Tehran had been summoned to hear Iran's protests.

"Tehran strongly protested about Egypt's failure to issue a permit for the Iranian ship, although

Iran repeatedly followed- up (on the issue)," ISNA news agency quoted a senior Iranian official as telling Egypt's top diplomat in Tehran.

An Egyptian diplomat confirmed his head of mission, Amre al- Zayat, had been summoned over the issue.

"We are going to follow up this request with Egypt," the diplomat told Reuters.

Iran and Egypt do not have full diplomatic ties but maintain interest sections in each other's countries.

Iranian officials have criticised Egypt for not doing enough to help the Palestinians and for closing its border, which Egypt shut after the Islamist group Hamas took control of the area.

Israel accuses Iran of arming Hamas. Tehran says it provides moral, financial and humanitarian support to the group.

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