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Africa

Iran sending warships to Syria via Suez Canal, Israel says

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-16

Two Iranian warships are heading toward the Suez Canal en route to Syria, Israel's foreign minister said in a speech on Wednesday, calling it the latest in a series of Iranian "provocations" that the international community has chosen to ignore.

AFP - Iran is sending two warships into the Mediterranean Sea, Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday, calling the act a "provocation" the Jewish state could not ignore for long.
              
"Tonight two Iranian warships are supposed to cross the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Syria," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, speaking at a conference of American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
              
Lieberman said Iranian warships cruising past Israel's coast was something that had not happened for many years and was a "provocation that proves the self confidence and cheek of the Iranians is growing from day-to-day."
              
"To my sorrow the international community is not dealing with these repeated Iranian provocations," the hardline minister said, referring to a recent visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Lebanese border with Israel.
              
"The international community has to understand that Israel cannot ignore these provocations for eternity," Lieberman said.
              
Israel reportedly sent one of its submarines through Suez in 2009 to take part in Red Sea military exercises that were interpreted as a warning to Iran.
              
The Suez Canal Authority said it had not yet been informed of an Iranian request to send its ships through the canal, but that it should not be a problem if they do.
              
"The Suez Canal authority allows all ships of any nationality to cross as long as the country is not in a state war with Egypt," the Authority said in a statement, noting "it would be the first time Iranian warships have used the Suez Canal since 1979."
              
"The Suez Canal does not accept the Iranian currency, but that does not mean that Iranian ships cannot use the canal."
              
The Tehran regime is seen by Israel as its principal threat after repeated predictions by its hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Jewish state's demise.

Date created : 2011-02-16

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