Israel views Iranian warships move with `gravity`

Last Updated: Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 18:43

Jerusalem: Israel on Sunday said that it
takes "grave view" of the Iranian plan to send two naval
warships through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea for
the first time since 1979.

"We can see what an unstable region we live in, an
area in which Iran is trying to take advantage of the
situation that has arisen and broaden its influence by
transferring two warships via the Suez Canal," Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet during a meeting.

"Israel takes a grave view of this Iranian step,"
Netanyahu said, adding the Jewish state would need to boost
defence spending as a result of Tehran`s move and recent
regional upheaval.

Suez Canal officials in Egypt earlier said that the
two warships were due to sail through the waterway to the
Mediterranean on Monday, denying a report from Iran that the
vessels had already crossed.

The vessels, which are apparently not carrying any
unconventional cargo, would be the first Iranian naval ships
to sail through the canal since Iran`s Islamic Revolution in
1979.

They are expected to anchor in the Syrian port of
Latakia.

Israel believes that the Egyptians have no choice but
to allow the ships to pass through the Suez Canal because the
treaty to which it is a signatory obliges it to allow free
passage through the waterway.

However, when President Hosni Mubarak was in power,
Iran did not risk such a move due to clear opposition from the
ousted regime.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 18:43

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