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Iranian Cargo Ship Searched At Libya Port: Unity Govt

File Photo - An Iranian container ship docked at a cargo area of a port . UNDATED
File Photo - An Iranian container ship docked at a cargo area of a port . UNDATED

An Iranian cargo ship listed on sanctions lists was boarded and searched at Misrata port in western Libya, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said Saturday.

The "Iranian flagged... Shahr E. Kord" is docked at the country's main commercial port, the internationally recognized GNA's interior ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The ship "is on a sanctions list of the US", the statement added.

The statement also said that the ship was searched after news began circulating on social media and media outlets that the Iranian vessel was bringing unknown shipment to Misrata.

According to the US Treasury Department Office for Foreign Assets Control, the Shahr E. Kord was placed on a sanctions blacklist on November 5, 2018.

Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Tehran since unilaterally withdrawing from an international nuclear accord in May 2018.

The ship, containing 144 containers, was brought to Misrata port in order to "verify the cargo to ensure it conforms with documents", the GNA's interior ministry said.

The ship left the port of Burgas in Bulgaria on April 20, bound for Misrata, according to the website

Ahmad al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) on April 23 spoke about the presence of an Iranian ship off Misrata.

The LNA, led by strongman Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, on April 4.

The Libya Observer news website also said that media outlets close to Haftar have alleged that the Iranian ship was bringing weapons and fighters for the Tripoli government.

Mesmari has suggested that the ship was illegally carrying a cargo of arms and ammunition to the coastal city, which is held by militia opposed to the LNA.

Reporting by AFP