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Iranian Warships in Mediterranean Carry Message of Peace: MP

Service : Politic
TEHRAN, Feb 28 (ICANA) – A senior Iranian lawmaker says the aim of Iranian warships visit to the Mediterranean Sea is to carry message of peace and friendship to the regional countries.
Monday, February 28, 2011 12:11:15 PM
Iranian Warships in Mediterranean Carry Message of Peace: MP

Member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini told ICANA that the US and Zionist regime were obviously unhappy with this Iranian move and were therefore trying to misportray the issue. Two Iranian warships, the first to enter the Mediterranean from the Suez Canal since 1979, docked at the Syrian port of Latakia last week. Israel has put its navy on high alert, denounced the ships' arrival in the region as an Iranian power play and branded their voyage "a provocation." Iran's main nemesis, the United States, has also said this week it is "watching carefully" the movements of the two ships. The two Iranian naval vessels have moored at Latakia on the Syrian coast. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, commander of the Iranian navy said the mission to sail past Israel to Syria had been accomplished without regard for Israeli concerns. Naqavi Hosseini, however, said the policies of the ousted Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were formulated in line with the US and Israeli interests. “This had created a division between the Middle East and the Mediterranean,” the MP noted, adding: “With the departure of Mubarak, the division between the two regions was mended and they re-established their contacts.” On the impact of such presence (Iran’s navy) on the situation in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, the legislator said it will certainly strengthen their status and further expose the true nature of the Zionist regime in the Middle East. The Iranian navy commander, meanwhile said the Zionist regime may create concern for itself and look at this issue from its own view but we will carry out our plans regardless of this regime and in coordination with the friendly nation in the region. Sayari denied media reports that the ships, the first Iranian vessels to transit the Suez Canal since the 1979 Islamic revolution, will be involved in any military drills. "A number of Iranian navy cadets are present and they are on a long training voyage," he said. The 1,500-tonne Alvand is normally armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, while the larger 33,000-tonne Kharg has a crew of 250 and facilities for up to three helicopters. Neither ship is carrying chemical or nuclear material, Egypt's state-run MENA news agency has reported. Egypt's new military rulers, who took power from ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, appeared to have no choice but to allow the passage. An international convention regulating shipping says the canal must be open "to every vessel of commerce or of war." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the ships' arrival in the region as an Iranian power play, just days after his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, branded their voyage "a provocation." An Israeli security source told AFP Israel would "not initiate any action", but vowed an "immediate Israeli response" if the Iranians deviated from international law in any way that could be considered "a provocation". "We continue to monitor the movements of these ships and their actions," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley has said. "We will be watching carefully to see where these ships go and the implications of that." The NATO military alliance too said it was monitoring the ships. Both ships were built in Britain during the 1970s for Iran, which ordered them before the Islamic revolution. Their passage into the eastern Mediterranean comes as the Arab world grapples with a vast wave of protests that is radically changing the political landscape, and leaving Israel increasingly concerned about its security.

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