WASHINGTON — The United States blocked an Iranian cargo plane's flight to Syria last month after intelligence analysts concluded it was carrying sophisticated missiles and launchers to resupply Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, two U.S. intelligence officials say.
Eight days after Hezbollah's war with Israel began, U.S. diplomats persuaded Turkey and Iraq to deny the plane permission to cross their territory to Damascus, a transfer point for arms to Hezbollah, the officials said.
•July 19: A spy satellite photographed Iranian crews loading three missile launchers and eight crates, each normally used to carry a Chinese-designed C-802 Noor missile, aboard a transport plane at Mehrabad air base near Tehran. Israel says Hezbollah fired a C-802, a precision-guided anti-ship cruise missile, at an Israeli warship off Lebanon's coast on July 14.
•July 20: The Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane left for Damascus, but Iraqi air-traffic controllers denied it permission to enter Iraq's airspace. The Iranian flight crew then requested permission to fly over Turkey. Turkish controllers granted permission — but only if the plane would land for an inspection. The plane returned to Tehran, where the military cargo was unloaded.