x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Malaysian police stop ship with nuclear cargo bound for Iran

The suspicious equipment, which could be used to make nuclear weapons, according to authorities, was found on a vessel travelling from China to Iran.

KUALA LUMPUR // Malaysian police said Friday that they had found equipment they suspect could be used to make nuclear weapons smuggled on board a ship headed to Iran.

National police chief Ismail Omar told The Associated Press that the cargo was seized from a Malaysian-registered ship traveling from China to Tehran while it was docked at a central Malaysia harbor. Authorities are investigating whether the equipment could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Malaysian International Shipping Corp. confirmed in a statement to the AP that police confiscated two containers from the MV Bunga Raya Satu on March 8. It said a freight forwarder had declared the contents as "goods used for liquid mixing or storage for pharmaceutical or chemical or food industry."

Police said they had received a tip that the items were being shipped illegally and did not have a special permit required under Malaysia's anti-trafficking law.

Malaysia passed that law last year to curb the trafficking of nuclear weapon components after being linked to the illegal supply of sensitive technology to countries including Iran and Libya.

The Malaysian shipping company said the vessel continued its journey without the seized items March 9.