For only the second time in 33 years Iranian warships have entered the Mediterranean, stoking already soaring regional tensions. The Iranian navy’s top admirial said the craft, thought to be a destroyer and its supply vessel, were on a mission of peace, but also that Iran wanted to showcase its naval power. Unconfirmed reports said the ships might be destined for Syria.
Israel put its navy on alert as the Iranian boats passed through the Suez Canal for the second time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The show of strength comes amid mounting hostility between Tehran and the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programe.
On a visit to Japan Israeli Defence Minister Ehun Barak said: “I should tell you my feeling is that if this regime, which is an extremely radical regime, will get nuclear weapons, it will become somehow immune against toppling it down because it will get the same kind of immunity that Kim Jong Il had here in your region.”
Earlier this week Israel accused Iran of being behind attacks or attempted attacks on Isaeli targets in India, Georgia and Thailand. Tehran denied any involvement. It also rejects claims it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.