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March 7, 2014 12:03 pm
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Hagel to Ya’alon: Illicit Actions by Iran in Violation of its U.N. Security Council Obligations

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israel Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Twitter response to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif's attempts to deny involvement with the captured missile shipment. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

Israel Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Twitter response to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif's attempts to deny involvement with the captured missile shipment. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Thursday afternoon spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon to be briefed on Israel’s operation in the Red Sea that seized a suspected Iranian shipment of advanced weapons, the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement on Friday through spokesman Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby.

“The secretary congratulated the minister on the success of the operation, and reiterated the United States’ commitment to holding Iran accountable for its destabilizing activities in the region, even as we continue efforts to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy,” Kirby said. “Secretary Hagel made clear that illicit actions by Iran are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s U.N. Security Council obligations.”

“The Department of Defense and the Israeli Ministry of Defense have been in consistent touch on Israel’s interdiction operation, coordinating extensively through military and intelligence channels,” Kirby said. “The secretary and the minister pledged to continue this close consultation as Israel completes its final inspection of the vessel, and reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship.”

The operation stopped a Panamanian-flagged ship coming from Iran to Sudan, with a secret cargo of medium-range missiles, hidden under bags of Iranian cement. The Israel Defense Forces said the cargo was destined for terror group Hamas in Gaza.

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The seizure came at an uncomfortable time for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which this week, was in Vienna negotiating with world powers to preserve its nuclear program which the regime insists is for peaceful purposes.

On Twitter, Iran Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif described the ship’s capture as being among Israel’s “failed lies” about Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, also via Twitter, with photos of the missiles and the Iranian cement bags, asking followers, to “RETWEET THIS and show the world that the foreign minister of Iran is the real liar here!”

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