Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Says Navy Ships in Mediterranean Not Aggression

Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari speaks during a news conference at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, February 28, 2011, after two Iranian naval ships entered the Suez Canal on February 22, and visited the Mediterranean port of Latakia in

Iran's navy chief says dispatching two Iranian naval ships to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in 30 years was not intended as an act of aggression.

Iranian Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told reporters in Damascus on Monday that the ships' voyage was meant to reinforce Iran's defense capabilities.

The Iranian naval ships docked in Syria last week after passing through Egypt's Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea -- an act Israel had called a "provocation."

It was the first time Iranian naval ships have used the canal since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the naval movement as a ploy by Iran to expand its regional influence at a time of instability.

Sayyari said fears from other nations were unjustified.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.