Iran Demonstrates 'Might' by Sending Navy to MediterraneanWorld | February 18, 2012, Saturday // 16:01| views
An Iranian warship is pictured on the Suez Canal after Egyptian authorities allowed two Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, Ismailia, Egypt, 22 Febuary 2011. EPA/BGNES
The Iranian Navy's 18th fleet of warships has passed through the Suez Canal and entered the Mediterranean Sea, an Iranian navy commander confirmed on Saturday.
The Iranian Navy dispatched its 18th flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden on January 21 to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against the Somali pirates. The Iranian warships docked at the Saudi port city of Jeddah a few days later, the Fars News Agency reported.
The Navy's 18th flotilla is comprised of the Khark warship and the Shahid Naqdi destroyer.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Saturday that the warships have made their second ever journey through the Suez Canal following Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution in line with the orders of the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for having a stronger presence in the high seas.
He said that the fleet will convey the message of peace and friendship to the region and will "demonstrate the Islamic Republic's might."
The two Iranian vessels, Khark and Alvand, had crossed the Suez Canal, a strategic international shipping route in Egypt, in February 2011. Khark has 250 crewmembers and can carry three helicopters.