TEHRAN • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are ready to provide a military escort to cargo ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities,” Ali Shirazi, Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Any intervention by the Iranian military would be considered highly provocative by Israel, which accuses Iran of supplying weapons to Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza.
The Iranian state news agency IRNA said yesterday Iran would try to send humanitarian aid to Gaza in ships under an Iranian flag. It said Iran had decided to ditch previous plans to send its aid in ships flying the flag of another state.
“The Iranian humanitarian assistance will include foodstuffs, medicines and medical equipment,” the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Abdolraouf Abidzadeh, was quoted as saying. He gave no more details.
Last Monday, Israeli troops killed nine activists on board one ship in a convoy trying to deliver aid to Gaza, sparking international outrage, especially in Muslim countries