Iranian warships to cross Egypt's Suez Canal

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Defence Ship
Tehran, Feb 19: The Iranian Navy on Friday confirmed that two Iranian warships are to cross the Egypt's Suez Canal and are only awaiting confirmation from Egyptian authorities, the Fars news agency reported.

Iran sent a formal request in regards to the passage of the two warships and assured that no military equipment, nuclear or chemical contents were in the ships. The Egyptian Defense Ministry is currently considering the request.

The Iranian Navy said that the vessels are on their way to the Suez Canal which is considered a strategic international shipping route in Egypt. This would be first time that an Iranian ship will sail in the crossing since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

The White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the United States is monitoring the possible transit of the Iranian ships and does not believe Iran has behaved responsibly in the region.

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Iranian request was a provocation. Israel has accused Syria and Iran in the past of paying for and smuggling weapons to the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Reports surfaced that the request was granted to Iran but no official announcement has been made. Iranian Navy informed that officials are in contact with their Egyptian counterparts to secure the safe passage of the vessels.

The Iranian warships are heading to Syria for training. In January, the Iranian Navy dispatched its first training and operational fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden. The training will last one year.

The fleet carried a number of Iranian Navy cadets to the Gulf of Aden in order to be trained and prepared for defending the cargo ships and oil tankers against the continued threat of attack by Somali pirates.

BNO NEWS

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