Israel says Iran warships to transit Suez for Syria

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Iran, World News

Reuters
February 16, 2011

(Reuters) – Two Iranian warships planned to sail through the Suez canal en route to Syria on Wednesday, Israel said, calling it a “provocation” by the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian naval contingent described by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would pose no significant military threat to Israel but could spell the closest-ever encounter by the forces of the two old foes, who are geographically distant.

Syria is one of Israel’s neighbouring enemies, whose alliance with Tehran has grown in parallel to increased international censure of the Iranian nuclear programme.

“Tonight, two Iranian warships are meant to pass through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea and reach Syria, something that has not happened in many years,” Lieberman said in a closed-door speech to Jewish leaders, a transcript of which was issued by his office.

“To my regret, the international community is not showing readiness to deal with the recurring Iranian provocations. The international community must understand that Israel cannot forever ignore these provocations.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency had reported on January 26 that Iranian navy cadets had been dispatched on a year-long training mission going via the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea and on through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea.

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