Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hassan Qashqavi, today denied that a ship detained by Cypriot authorities last month was carrying Iranian weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"The report was baseless and until now, nothing has been communicated to us by our embassy in Nicosia or official sources," Qashqavi told reporters, the conservative Fars news agency reports.

A Cypriot source said Saturday that the ship appeared to be carrying weapon-related material from Iran prohibited by United Nations Security Council sanctions, Reuters reports.

And Cyprus's Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou has said that a UN committee had ruled that the ship, currently anchored off the southern port of Limassol, was in "clear" violation of UN sanctions, but he did not say against which country, AFP reports.

Qashqavi said that if the suspected cargo was weaponry, "it would have been crystal clear with no need for an investigation," Reuters reports.

The US Navy, which had earlier boarded the ship in the Red Sea, said that it had found weapons on board the ship, but did not confiscate them for legal reasons.

Israeli media had reported that the Cypriot-flagged vessel was suspected of carrying Iranian weapons to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza.

Iran rejects Western accusations that it arms Hamas and Hezbollah, saying its support for those groups is only moral.

Sources: Fars news agency, Reuters, Agence France-Presse