ABC: Iran Caught Sending Record Arms Shipment to Hezbollah

Uniquely among Wednesday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson informed viewers that the Israeli navy earlier in the day intercepted a record quantity of weapons supplied by Iran and destined for Hezbollah, in violation of a United Nations resolution forbidding the arming of the Lebanon-based terrorist group. Host Gibson set up the report: "Israeli navy commandos today seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus. Israel's defense ministry says it was loaded with tons of weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. It is the largest cache of weapons ever interdicted by the Israelis, who say the arms came from one source: Iran."

Correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood opened his report by relaying that the quantity of weapons seized was enough to "keep the Islamic radicals of Hezbollah fighting for a month." And as he concluded the report, he also gave credibility to the conservative view that Iran should not be trusted in negotiations over its nuclear program: "Today's interception won't substantially reduce Hezbollah's military power, but it strengthens Israel's warning to those trying to negotiate with Iran – including the U.S. – it can't be trusted."

The CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News did not mention the weapons interception, although both ran another story which also reflects poorly on the Iranian government -- the regime's commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Below is a complete transcript of the relevant story from the Wednesday, November 4, World News with Charles Gibson on ABC:

CHARLES GIBSON: Israeli navy commandos today seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus. Israel’s defense ministry says it was loaded with tons of weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. It is the largest cache of weapons ever interdicted by the Israelis, who say the arms came from one source: Iran. ABC’s Simon McGregor-Wood is in Jerusalem.

SIMON MCGREGOR-WOOD: The head of Israel’s navy says there are enough weapons here to keep the Islamic radicals of Hezbollah fighting for a month, and all of them from Iran. Artillery shells, hand grenades, mortar rounds, Katyusha rockets – all hidden behind this less controversial cargo. The Israelis claim they tracked the ship from Iran, to Egypt and towards Syria, from where, they say, the arms would have been trucked across the Lebanese border to Hezbollah fighters. But today, before dawn, Israeli commandos boarded the ship and found the weapons.

"Iran and its messengers Hezbollah and Hamas," Israel’s defense minister said, "are trying to attack the heart of the Israeli civilian population." That’s what happened in 2006 when Israel and Hezbollah went to war – thousands of Hezbollah rockets landed on Israel’s towns and cities. When the fighting stopped, a U.N. resolution declared Hezbollah must not re-arm. But the Israelis insist it has – they say – with 40,000 new rockets, all from Iran and Syria. Today's interception won't substantially reduce Hezbollah's military power, but it strengthens Israel's warning to those trying to negotiate with Iran – including the U.S. – it can't be trusted. Simon McGregor-Wood, ABC News, Jerusalem.