A cargo plane carrying weapons from North Korea that was seized in Thailand earlier this month was heading for Iran, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday.

The Il-76 plane carrying 35 tons of weaponry was seized during refueling at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on December 12. Officials said the weapons included missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Arms trafficking experts researching the incident were quoted by the paper as saying the flight plan for the plane showed that after Bangkok it was due to make refueling stops in Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine before unloading its cargo in Tehran.

Iranian officials have not yet commented on the allegation, the Wall Street Journal said.

The paper said the plane stopped at an air force base in Azerbaijan en route to Pyongyang, but that the nature of that stop was unclear.

The newspaper said its information came from a joint draft report by analysts at TransArms in Chicago and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) in Antwerp.

The Kazakh and Belarusian crew of the plane who are being held in custody have said they were unaware of the military nature of the cargo. The paper quoted them as saying they were told the cargo was oil drilling equipment.

The paper said it remains unclear who organized the weapons shipment.

UN resolutions prohibit the export of large-scale weapons from North Korea, which is under international sanctions.


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