JERUSALEM (JTA) — Russia denied that a cargo ship reportedly seized by pirates was carrying weapons bound for Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the denial Tuesday after an article printed over the weekend by the Sunday Times of London, which reported that the ship called the Arctic Sea was carrying Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. Officially, the ship was carrying $1.7 million worth of lumber.
The ship reportedly was hijacked near Sweden on July 24 and was recovered by the Russian Navy in mid-August.
The Times report cited Russian and Israeli sources as saying the Mossad, acting with the cooperation of the Russian government, set up the hijacking to stop Iran from receiving the weapons without embarrassing Russia.
Russia had agreed to sell the sophisticated missiles to Iran several years ago, but Israeli President Shimon Peres announced Aug. 18, the day after the ship had been recovered, that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had agreed to review the sale.