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Iranian Warships Enter the Mediterranean Sea: Reports

Saturday, 18 Feb 2012 | 6:18 AM ET

Iranian warships entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal on Saturday, according to various press reports.

An international oil tanker passes through the Suez canal in Ismailia, Egypt.
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An international oil tanker passes through the Suez canal in Ismailia, Egypt.

The BBC said that the destroyer Shahid Qandi and its supply vessel Kharg passed through the Suez Canal but that their destination was unclear.

It is the second time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that Iranian warships pass through the Suez Canal, navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayari said, according Dow Jones.

"The strategic navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has passed through the Suez Canal for the second time since the (1979) Islamic Revolution," Sayari told the IRNA agency, quoted by Dow Jones.

The move will show "the might" of Iran to the countries in the region, Sayari said, according to the Dow Jones report. The BBC reported that Sayari said the mission was also a "message of peace".

In February last year, two Iranian warships entered the Mediterranean Sea, prompting Israel to call the move a "provocation."

Analysts and policymakers have been increasingly worried about an escalation of the tension in Iran, with a political analyst recently telling CNBC an attack on the country from Israel was likely this year.

However, President Barack Obama said Israel had no firm plans to attack Iran.

In an NBC interview earlier this month, Obama said: "I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program."

The destroyer Shahid Qandi and its supply vessel Kharg have passed through the Suez Canal but their destination remains unclear.

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