JERUSALEM, March 5 (Xinhua) -- While negotiating a deal with the world powers on its nuclear program, Iran is supplying militant groups with lethal weapons to harm innocent civilians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday after Israeli commandos intercepted an Iranian ship in the Red Sea that carried missiles bound for the Gaza strip.
Israeli naval commandos raided the vessel on the maritime border between Sudan and Eritrea, approximately 1,500 km (930 miles) from the Israeli coast, while it was en route to Port Sudan, the Israeli military said.
"At a time when Iran is talking with world powers, smiling and speaking pleasantries, it is sending deadly weapons to terrorist organizations via a network of secret operations around the world, " Netanyahu said in a recorded video message from California.
"This is the real Iran, and this country must not possess nuclear weapons. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect the citizens of Israel," he added.
Before giving the green light to raid the Panamanian-flagged " Klos-C" which was en route to Port Sudan, Netanyahu held consultations with Israel's top defense leadership, including Israeli Defense Forces Chief Benny Gantz, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Mossad director Tamir Pardo, according to a statement released by Netanyahu's office.
A search team onboard the vessel uncovered dozens of Syrian- produced M302 missiles that the military alleged were bound for Gaza militants.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said it will lodge a complaint with the UN Security Council against Iran for attempting to smuggle missiles into Gaza.