Iran Sending Warships Through Suez Canal

Israel views first passage since '79 as provocation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 11:34 PM CST
Iran Sending Warships Through Suez Canal
Cargo ships sail through the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Egypt.    (AP Photo, File)

Iran is sending warships through the Suez Canal for the first time since its Islamic revolution in 1979. Passage for the two ships, which are believed to be bound for a training session in Syria, was approved by the Egyptian military, USA Today reports. Sources in Egypt say the ships will enter the canal early Tuesday, although Iranian media reports that the vessels have already made the passage from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

Israel says it views the step as a provocation, although its military has determined that the ships do not pose a threat, Ha'aretz reports. "Iran is trying to take advantage of the situation that has arisen and broaden its influence by transferring two warships via the Suez Canal," Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "Israel takes a dim view of this Iranian step." Under international treaty, the canal may be used "in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag." (Read more Iran stories.)

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