Vessel Carrying Iranian Weapons Seized by Israeli Navy

November 1, 2009

Publication Type: 

  • International Enforcement Actions

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 


Wisconsin Project Staff

On November 11, 2009, the Israeli military released documentary evidence tying the arms cargo of the "Francop," a vessel seized by Israel's navy off the coast of Cyprus, to Iran. The merchant ship was flying the Antigua flag and was heading to the Syrian port of Latakia. Released documents included: a manifest indicating it was handled by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL); a container labeling that showed the ship originated in Isfahan, Iran; pictures that showed "IRISL" stenciled on the containers' sides and "Ministry of Sepah"-labeled boxes; and a customs form stamped by Iran's armed forces. Polyethylene pellets found in the containers had markings indicating they were produced by Iran's National Petrochemical Co. Israel said the ship was carrying 500 tons of Iranian-made weapons for Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, including 20,000 grenades, 9,000 mortar rounds, 3,000 anti-tank shells, 3,000 Katyusha rockets, and more than 500,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. Iran and Hezbollah denied Israel's claims.


[1] "Documented Proof of Iranian Complicity in Arms Smuggling to Terrorists," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 11, 2009.

[2] Aron Heller, "Israel Shows Documents It Says Link Iran to Arms," Associated Press, November 11, 2009.