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Iran Says It Seized Kuwait Ship With U.S. Cargo Destined for Iraq

September 06, 1985|United Press International

KUWAIT — Iran said it confiscated U.S. cargo Thursday from a Kuwaiti container ship it seized south of the entrance to the Persian Gulf, and Iraq said its warplanes bombed Iran's main oil terminal at Kharg Island for the fifth time in 21 days.

Tehran radio said that the Kuwaiti-registered container ship Al Wattyah was escorted to an unidentified Iranian port Thursday and that some of its cargo, mostly bought in the United States, was confiscated.

The confiscated cargo was to have been transshipped from Kuwait to Iraq and "would have strengthened the enemy's ability to commit aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran," the state-run radio said.

In Kuwait, the ship's owners, the United Arab Shipping Co., said it was carrying "240 containers loaded with general cargo which has nothing to do with the Iran-Iraq War" when it was seized by the Iranian navy Wednesday night.

A company statement said the ship and its Japanese crew of 10 officers and 16 seamen were "hijacked" by the Iranian navy in international waters 30 miles south of the Strait of Hormuz--the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

"What the Iranians have done is against international laws and regulations," said the owners. "We hope the ship will be released as soon as possible."

There was no indication from Iran when the ship would be allowed to leave.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi military spokesman said Iraqi jet fighters dropped 8,800 pounds of explosives on Kharg Island in an attempt to hamper Iranian efforts to extinguish fires and repair damage from the earlier raids.

The spokesman said all the Iraqi aircraft returned safely to their base after shooting down an Iranian aircraft in a dogfight over the gulf.

But Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency claimed that Iranian "defense units" shot down an Iraqi plane over the central gulf.

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