Cairo Refrains from Issuing Visa for Iranian Members of Gaza-Bound Convoy

Fars News Agency ::

News number: 8910100586

15:05 | 2010-12-31

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Cairo Refrains from Issuing Visa for Iranian Members of Gaza-Bound Convoy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Members of the Asian Aid Caravan to Gaza said that the Egyptian authorities granted visas to 120 activists but refused entry to several members, including seven Iranian MPs.

Cairo denied entry to seven Iranian members of parliament on board. Several activists, from over 18 countries, were also denied entry.

“From 160 activists of Asia2gaza, only 120 members got Egypt visa,” the group said on Thursday.

Egypt’s approval is required to reach the Gaza Strip through the shared Rafah crossing, particularly since Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip was tightened in 2007.

Seven Iranian lawmakers were due to travel with the group to Syria and from there to Gaza via the Rafah crossing in Egypt to display their solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against the Israeli regime.

Mahmoud Ahmadi Biqash, Avaz Heidarpour, Parvi Sarvari, Ali Motahhari, Ali Asqar Zare’i, Hassan Qafourifard and Shabib Jooyjari were the seven Iranian MPs that intended to join the Asian Gaza Convoy.

A number of 200 members of the Iranian parliament had earlier in a statement voiced support and solidarity with the Asian continent’s first humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza which arrived in Iran earlier this month.

The Iranian lawmakers also donated part of their salary to the Palestinian people.

Laden with relief supplies, Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan of Asia is now in the port city of Latakia in the Northwest of Syria.

The convoy, which currently has activists from 18 different nationalities onboard, began its journey from the Indian capital, New Delhi and traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon.

The activists say they want to display solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against Israel. The Asian peace activists hope that the move would provide a good opportunity for breaking the siege of Gaza.

The move came nearly seven months after Israeli forces raided the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31. Over 100 Israeli soldiers supported by military choppers boarded a Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, leading the six-ship convoy in international waters.

The Israeli commandoes killed 20 international human rights activists and wounded 80 more. Nine of the victims were Turkish nationals. Some members of the European parliaments, former western diplomats, reporters and human rights activists were among the victims of Israel’s brutal act.

The siege of Gaza started in June 2007 when Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip. This was supported by the governments of Egypt and the US.

The blockade consists of a land blockade along Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and a sea blockade. It immediately followed the 2006-2007 economic sanctions against the Palestinian National Authority following the election of Hamas to the Palestinian government.

The blockade has attracted criticism from many Human Rights organizations. September 2009 UN fact-finding mission found that the blockade of Gaza “amounted to collective punishment” was likely a war crime and a crime against humanity and recommended that the matter be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Fars News Agency :: Cairo Refrains from Issuing Visa for Iranian Members of Gaza-Bound Convoy.

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