Iran has no hostile intentions towards other states: Iranian navy chief
Iran's Navy chief Habibollah Sayyari said here on Monday that his country has no hostile intentions towards other states, Xinhua reported.
He asserted at a press conference held in the Iranian Embassy in Damascus that the visit of the Iranian ships to the region came under the normal cooperation between Tehran and the Syrian government.
"Iran's naval ships have a peace and friendship message, and aim at enhancing naval training cooperation between the two countries," he said.
Referring to some countries' concern over the Iranian ships, the admiral said "these concerns are not justified as the voyage poses no threats to the region."
On Thursday, two Iranian navy ships, Alvand, a 1,500-tonne patrol frigate armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, and Kharg, a 33,000-tonne supply vessel, arrived at the Syrian seaport of Lattaqia, 350 km north of Damascus, on a training mission.
The two vessels, which crossed the Suez Canal in Egypt before entering the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since 1979, have aroused anger among Israeli top officials, who regarded the voyage as a provocative step.
Sayyari did not tell how long the ships would remain in the Mediterranean and said they will stay along with their "determined schedule" before going back to Iran.
An international convention regulating shipping says the canal must be open to every vessel of commerce or of war, he said, stressing that the vessels were in a "routine voyage" and have never participated in any military exercise.