Updated at 14:58,21-10-2016

Detained in Thailand Aircraft was to Deliver Weapons to Iran

21-12-2009, 17:55

Weapons from North Korea found on the IL-76 aircraft with a Belarusian among crew members was bound for Iran.

The American Wall Street Journal wrote about this on Monday.

According to the paper, arms-trafficking experts from the US and Belgium managed to get the flight’s plan. The document shows that "after Bangkok the plane was due to make refueling stops in Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine before unloading its cargo in Tehran". Iranian representatives haven’t responded to requests for comments, Interfax reports.

"The flight plan indicates that en route to Pyongyang the plane stopped at an air force base in Azerbaijan; the nature of that stop is unclear," the paper writes.

The information is presented in a joint draft report by analysts at TransArms, based in Chicago, and the International Peace Information Service, or IPIS, of Antwerp, Belgium.

"Thai officials say they have received little information from the plane's crew (citizens of Kazakhstan and Belarus). The crew say they were told the cargo was oil-drilling equipment and have denied knowing there were weapons aboard," the Wall Street Journal informs.

"A question still unanswered is who organized the weapons shipment. It appears the planners went to great lengths to hide their identities," the paper stresses.

As charter97.org reported earlier, foreign mass media offer different versions of the arms origin found on board of Ilyushin-76 aircraft detained in Thailand on December 12.

The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, with a reference to its Ukrainian sources states that the plane originally set off from Belarus. It stopped for refueling in Kyiv before flying to North Korea. The newspaper notes that 40 tons of weapons and ammunition were loaded in Pyongyang.

As Times Online reports with a reference to Hugh Griffiths, a weapons expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, before spring 2009 Il-76 4L-AWA was owned by Kazakh private aircraft company East Wind. Then it was bought by another Kazakh company Beirbas, connected with Serbian arms trafficker Tomislav Damnjanovic.

In October this year the aircraft was sold to Georgian company Air West Georgia, and from it was leased by SP Trading Ltd registered in New Zealand. Grifiths states that earlier the plane was owned by one of firms controlled by Viktor Bout, Russian arms dealer who is in Thai prison now.