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IRAN: Controversial attempt to break Israeli blockade of Gaza called off

OK, people, relax. World War III is not going to break out this weekend over a high-seas confrontation between Iranian aid ships headed to the Gaza Strip and Israeli gunboats aiming to stop them. 

Iran-sheikolislam International observers (including certain overworked Middle East correspondents) breathed a deep sigh of relief Friday after Iran called off its plan to try to break through Israel's blockade of the Palestinian enclave. 

Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship late last month in an incident that practically reconfigured the diplomatic topography of the Middle East. 

According to a Persian-language report by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, an Iranian foreign ministry official told reporters that an Iranian aid flotilla destined for Gaza this weekend has been called off. 

The vessel was originally to leave either Thursday or Sunday, but will be staying put for now, according to Hossein Sheikoleslam. 

"The Iranian flotilla will not go to Gaza," he told reporters in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, according to IRNA. "This flotilla was initially scheduled to leave on Thursday heading for Gaza. But due to the constraints created by the usurping Zionist government in not allowing certain types of goods to pass through, it was decided that the vessel would leave on Sunday, June 27. This will also not happen now."

In addition to his duties at the foreign ministry, Sheikoleslam heads the International Conference for Supporting the Palestinian Intifada. He said Iran ultimately backed down on the aid flotilla because it didn't want to politicize its humanitarian efforts. 

In any case, Israel has vowed to ease the blockade amid a firestorm of international criticism.

"Although Iranian aid is not dispatched by Iranian ships, these sorts of aid would be sent by other means," Sheikoleslam said. "The Zionist regime has turned the issue of sending aid to Gaza into a political one. We do not want such humanitarian issues to be turned into a political matter. For us, the most important thing is the breaking of the blockade."

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: Hossein Sheikoleslam. Credit: IRNA

Comments () | Archives (12)

To some of us, WWIII began in September 1972 when the terrorists of Black September killed 11 Israeli athletes on an international stage as the rest of the world sat in their living rooms.

Thanks, Borzou, for yet another one of your twisted perspectives.

We can only hope that humanitarian aid will reach those in need, putting an end eventually to these barbaric policies and gross human rights violations.

After all that big talk..they blinked!

I forgot to post the URL for Ahmadinejad's speech saying the struggle in Palestine is not over the land at all: it is rather to reclaim Islamic ascendancy over the infidel and all that entails.

Thought I read somewhere that we were sending our Navy into the region of Iran. If so, then we know why she stopped dead in her tracks--so her sailors wouldn't be dead in their tracks.

The Economist just reported in a current article that thousands of winches were in full operation in the Egypt tunnels, bringing plenty of food and supplies into Gaza in addition to all the truckloads the Israelis allowed through, so it may not be as bad there as Iranian PR is leading everyone to believe. The flotilla is purely political and its ultimate goal is weaponry. Break the flotilla and bring in the weapons.

The trouble with that is that Hamas will use the weapons against Israel and guess how much suffering Gaza will experience after that. Hamas doesn't care about the people; Hamas cares about the movement; the Resistance. And so does Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad thinks there is a world wide clash of civilizations: his, the Islamic one--and ours the "Western, or infidel one."

And he thinks the war in Palestine will determine the outcome of the this clash of civilizations for the future of you and me.

Is her right, and if so, which side do you choose?

Would you miss all this or any of this if you went with his side?:
freedom of press
freedom of religion
freedom to change your religion (it is death to leave Islam)
freedom from cruel and unusal punishment like, say, stoning or whipping
separation of church and state (or mosque and state)
freedom of the artist to offend people without being murdered
freedom to assemble
gay, minority, and women's rights

Or would you be willing to trade those in for the values of Islam?

For Ahmadinejad, and for his puppet, Hamas, it isn't about the Gazans or the other Palestinians and their wellbeing. And it isn't about taking over the territory that Israel now occupies. It is rather about reclaiming the priority of Islam on the world stage:

"The situation has changed in this historical struggle.

Sometimes the Muslims have won and moved forward and the world oppressor was forced to withdraw.

Unfortunately, the Islamic world has been withdrawing in the past 300 years.

The Islamic world lost its last defenses in the past 100 years and the world oppressor established the occupying regime.

Therefore the struggle in Palestine today is the major front of the struggle of the Islamic world with the world oppressor and its fate will decide the destiny of the struggles of the past several hundred years."

He says he doesn't want to examine the reasons that Islam has been in decline over the past 100 years, only to talk about the decline.

That's because the reason is the defeat of the Muslim Ottoman Empire in World War I, which meant the loss of Muslim ontrol over Jerusalem. He doesn't want to remind people that there was a BIG war and Islam lost to the West.

But he views the struggle in Palestine in broad brushstrokes==the ebb and flow of history.

Pick you side.



Maybe this won't cause WWIII, but maybe you've read on the subject concerning Israel and the US blockading Iran and there being a high possibility of having a preemptive strike on the country. You know to get them weapons of mass desruction? ahh here we go, something the LA times or any controlled mainstream news outlet won't talk about until it's inevitible. And of course when that occurs they'll play it down. Just like always. oh and to prove me more right maybe they'll block the comment. hahaha you drones

Good call by Iran for now! Kathy is right, more ships and international participation is a right way to go, Israel can't stop multinational humanitarian effort without making a.. out of herself!

The link to my previous comment on "A course of Action for USA, Arabs, Iran and Israel...Obama's Foreign Policy Challenge: Middle East” a suggested workable foreign policy approach for USA visa-a-vie Israel and Iran is discussed:" would not open. The test of the following link indicates should be correct:

A course of Action for USA, Arabs, Iran and Israel:

Iran already has enough internal-external foreign policy and financial problems on her limited table. Iranian government is spreading her limited resources too thinly in the world dominated by big friends of Israel: USA, France, England and Germany. Iran should learn from India and China to navigate the turbulent waters of the international politics.

European nations along with Arab nations should force Israel to remove the Israel’s Gaza blockade. Iranians as a non-Arab --- Persian nation --- must learn from her past history with Arabs: the Muslim conquest of Persia in 644 and recent attack in 1980–1988. During this recent attack, the integrated financial, technical, and armaments that were provided by many Arab countries to support Arabic Iraq against non-Arab Iranians.

In the following post “Obama's Foreign Policy Challenge: Middle East” a suggested workable foreign policy approach for USA visa-a-vie Israel and Iran is discussed:

Iran should mind her own affairs and remove herself from the conflict between Israel and Arabs!

Kathy? "Freedom Flotilla?" The videos of that event speak for themselves. You and those like you wish to paint Israel as the aggressor while ignoring that video.

Go to hell iran

The freedom flotilla 1 managed to penetrate the masses worldwide, now eyes all wide open, people are monitoring DAILY 24/7 of what is going on in Palestine.

I think it is a good decision Iran or Lebanon pull out as Israel is trying so hard to paint a negative picture by making noble humanitarian efforts look ugly..

I suggest future flotillas sail together, in strength say 30-50boats from all over the world sail all at the same time.

This will give more volunteers time to participate....



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