Iran ship crosses Suez (archives)
Photo: Reuters

Iran navy chief: Khamenei ordered Suez crossing

Admiral Sayari confirms two Iranian vessels crossed strategic waterway, but did not say where they were heading. Iranian news agency says they docked at Syria's Tartus Port

Iranian Navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayari confirmed Saturday that Iranian ships had crossed the Suez Canal and sailed into the Mediterranean Sea.


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The commander did not say how many vessels had crossed the canal, or what missions they were planning to carry out in the Mediterranean, but he did say the flotilla had previously docked in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.


ספינה איראנית בתעלת סואץ בשנה שעברה (צילום: רויטרס)

Iranian vessel crosses Suez last year (Archive photo: Reuters)


Meanwhile, the Iranian Mehr news agency reported that the two ships have docked at Syria's Tartus Port.


According to the report, the vessels, a destroyer and a cargo ship, arrived at the Syrian port on Friday to "train" Syria's navy as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries.


The BBC identified the vessels as the destroyer Shahid Qandi and its supply vessel Kharg.


Reuters quoted a source at the Suez Canal authority as saying the vessels - the destroyer Shahid Qandi and its supply vessel Kharg - might be en route to Syria.


"The flotilla conveys a message of peace and friendship to the region's nations and showcases the might of the Islamic Republic's holy regime," he was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.


"The flotilla will prove to the world that despite the sanctions enemies have been imposing on Iran over the past 33 years, our scientific and military strength is increasing," he said.


According to Sayari, the vessels are carrying naval cadets. He said it was Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who made what he referred to as a strategic decision to cross the waterway.


"The flotilla crossed the Suez Canal for the second time since the victory of Islamic Revolution (in 1979) under the orders of the supreme leader," said the navy commander.


Two Iranian navy vessels entered the Mediterranean in February last year. Israel called it a "provocation."


Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.


Reuters contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 02.18.12, 14:21
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