Two Iranian warships have docked in Syria, a military commander said on Thursday, dismissing Israeli remarks of the manoeuvre as a "provocation".
The ships arrived on Wednesday night after passing through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, the first Iranian navy vessels to do so since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran's Navy commander told reporters that the warships were not performing any military exercises but were on a routine and friendly visit and carry the message of peace and friendship to world countries.
"The Zionist regime had been exaggerating this issue because it wants to create tension among the brotherly relations between countries in the region," Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told state TV.
"We made a decision based on international norms aimed at fostering friendly relations with the regional states and Muslim countries by carrying the message of peace and friendship to those countries."
The website of Iran's Press TV said the Alvand, a 1,500-tonne patrol frigate, armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, and the 33,000-tonne supply vessel Khark were docked at Syria's main port, Latakia.
Egypt's decision to allow the ships through its canal was made under an interim government after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
Iran is hoping to restore ties with Cairo, which has a peace treaty with Israel.
AgenciesLast Mod: 24 Şubat 2011, 12:56