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Iranian ship sanctioned by U.S. carries undefined cargo from Bulgaria to Misurata

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

MISURATA – A ship of an Iranian company sanctioned by the United States docked on Monday at Misurata port (MRA) carrying an undefined cargo after it was moored from 18 to 20 April in the Bulgarian port of Burgas (BOJ).

BIVOL, a Bulgarian news website specialized in investigative journalism, in partnership with the online international security journal De Re Militari reported that the ship “Shahr E Kord” is owned by an Iranian state-owned maritime transport company.

The state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), known as IRISL Group, IRI Shipping Lines or ARYA Shipping Company is on the U.S. sanction list against Iran. It is identified as one of the main subcontractors of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Defense Ministry and its main special service – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

According to BIVOL, “this company’s ships have been detected on numerous occasions to carry weapons, ammunition and other cargo for the needs of the Iranian army and the country’s defense sector.”

“Currently, there is no official information on what it had been transporting to Burgas and what exactly it had loaded at the Bulgarian port in the period April 18-20, 2019. According to analysts, it is quite possible that the cargo is light weapons from Bulgaria or other Balkan countries.”

BIVOL’s checks in the Marine Traffic site showed that the ship was in Burgas on April 18 and 19. However, on the morning of April 20, it left Bulgarian waters and headed for the port of Misurata, where it arrived yesterday.

Misurata is under the control of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). Qatar-backed militias in Misurata have been fighting alongside GNA forces against the Libyan National Army (LNA) at outskirts of Tripoli since April 4.

“According to our sources, the Iranians, as allies of Qatar, which is active in Libya, are sending military assistance in the form of weapons and ammunition to Misrata so that the port can withstand the attacks.” BIVOL reported.

“Bulgaria, for its part, has a close relationship with Qatar and also with Iran – so any such cargo will not be a surprise,” explains Ruslan Trad, co-founder of De Re Militari. “What is carried with this ship is not exactly known, it is hardly a good thing.”

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