- Title: TURKEY: Authorities impound Syria-bound Iran plane after weapons tip-off
- Date: 22nd March 2011
- Summary: DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY (MARCH 21, 2011) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) MILITARY AIRPORT SUSPECTED IRANIAN PLANE PARKED ON TARMAC VARIOUS OF BOXES BEING CARRIED IN AND OUT / SUSPECTED PLANE ON TARMAC AUTHORITIES TAKING BOXES OUT OF THE PLANE BOXES BEING LOADED INTO A TRUCK MORE OF BOXES BEING TAKEN OUT
- Reuters ID: LVA3H46NGX5E10Y1AKODZPPNQNRU
- Location: Turkey, Turkey
- Country: Turkey
- Duration: 00:01:18
- Topics: International Relations,Defence / Military
- Story Text: An Iranian cargo plane was impounded by Turkish authorities on Monday (March 21) after it was forced to land in southeast Turkish province of Diyarbakir on suspicion it was carrying weapons or bomb-making material to Syria.
The plane which took off from Tehran was ordered to land at a military airport in Diyarbakir on Saturday night (March 19). Onboard searches took place on Sunday (March 20) and continued on Monday.
Last Tuesday (March 15) night another Syria-bound Iranian plane was similarly forced to land at Diyarbakir but departed the following day after a search squad trained in chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear cargo found nothing illegal.
Turkish media suggested the second plane may have been stopped at the request of the United Nations to investigate whether it was carrying nuclear material.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is probing allegations of covert atomic activities in Syria. Iran and Syria, close allies, deny ever harbouring nuclear weapons ambitions.
The Iranian cargo plane plane held at the airport has undergone several inspections in two days and it was not immediately known how long the searches would continue. Turkey's Foreign Ministry and airport authorities declined to comment. A ministry spokesman said after last week's plane grounding the search was routine.
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