Iranian Suez transit was ‘provocation’: Israel


MADRID – Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that the passage of two Iranian warships through Egypt’s Suez Canal for the first time since Iran’s 1979 revolution was a “political provocation”. The Kharg, a supply ship, and the Alvand patrol frigate sailed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean on Tuesday on their way to Syria, an Iranian ally and Israeli enemy, in what Tehran has described as a routine visit.
But analysts have said the move was an attempt by Iran to project its clout in the region at a time when anti-govt protests sweeping the Arab world from Casablanca to Cairo are shifting the regional balance of power.
“I don’t look upon it as a major event, I think it is a political provocation. You have to keep cool, you should not become nervous because two ships are crossing the Suez,” Peres told a conference in Madrid. “They are following the instructions of the Egyptians. Let them cross.” Egypt’s ruling military council approved the ship’s passage through the waterway, a vital global trading route.