Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Western military alliance NATO says it is keeping a close watch over Iranian naval presence in the Mediterranean, although Tehran has described the naval mission as peaceful and cordial.

Two Iranian warships sailed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean for the first time since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, after receiving authorization from Egypt. The vessels, Khark and Alvand, have docked at the Syrian coast for training. 

On Wednesday, AFP quoted NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu as saying, "We follow events in the region and we follow these two Iranian warships.” 

"We are monitoring events,” Lungescu added. 

Iran's Navy has made clear that the mission is aimed at strengthening friendly relations with other countries and conveying Tehran's message of peace and security in international waters. 

Israel, however, has placed its Navy on alert, branding the naval movement as a cause for 'concern' and an act of provocation. 

The United States -- the most influential NATO member -- has also announced that it will be "watching carefully to see where these ships go and the implications of that." 

Iran's Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdul-Rahim Mousavi told IRNA on Tuesday that following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 -- when our Navy made its last passage through the canal -- many countries thought that Iran's military would halt all its activities after a few months, but all plots against our efforts by arrogant powers have been foiled. 

Referring to Israel, he said, “The Zionist regime was shocked by the presence of Iran's naval ships in the Suez Canal and this is why the regime has engaged in a propaganda campaign in recent days.” source

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