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October 30, 2012

Iranian State Media Reports Navy Ships Docked in Sudan

by Gabe Joselow

Iran’s state media reports two Iranian warships have docked at a Sudanese port to convey a “message of peace,” a week after Khartoum accused Israel of attacking a Sudanese weapons factory. According to IRNA, a destroyer and a helicopter carrier were sent to ensure the protection of shipping lanes. A Sudanese military spokesman cited in local media says the visit is also a chance for Sudan to learn about advanced weaponry on the Iranian ships.

Sudanese Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Osman Rahamtalla would not confirm any Iranian warships had docked in Sudan.  In an interview with VOA, he said Sudan and Iran are not involved in any new discussions regarding the alleged Israeli attack on a Sudanese weapons factory.

"Why should we do that? This is an internal matter in Sudan and we know the source of that attack and we have sent a very strong message against those who attacked us and Iran has nothing to do with this," Rahamtalla said.

Last week, Sudan said four Israeli warplanes bombed a weapons factory in Khartoum.  Two people were reportedly killed in a fire that broke out at the plant. Khartoum has called on the United Nations to condemn Israel for the attack.

Sudan has accused Israel of carrying out similar attacks in the past few years, including a strike on a Sudanese arms convoy in 2009. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in any of these incidents. The state has in the past accused Sudan of providing arms for Palestinian militants.