October 29, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Two Iranian warships arrived at Sudan’s main Red Sea outlet on Monday, one week after a Sudanese military factory rumored to be linked to Tehran was hit in an airstrike Khartoum accuses Israel of conducting.
- Iranian helicopters and warships take part in maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz in 2000. (AFP File Photo)
The Iranian official news agency, IRNA, reported that the ‘Shahid Naqdi’ corvette and a freighter left from a port in southern Iran last month docked in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
According to IRNA, the ships arrived to “convey a message of peace and friendship to the region’s countries and to provide safety at sea in light of maritime terrorism”
Iranian media also reported that the Navy’s 22nd fleet was dispatched to the coasts of Djibouti and the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb in late September.
The Iranian move comes just a week after an airstrike hit Al-Yarmook military factory in the capital Khartoum. Sudan says Israel was behind the attack.
Israel says Iran is developing nuclear weapons and threatens to strike against the country’s nuclear facilities.
The commanders of the Iranian naval force are due to meet with their Sudanese counterparts, official media reported.
In Khartoum, the spokesperson of the Sudanese Army (SAF), Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, told the official news agency SUNA that the visit of the two Iranian warships “comes within the framework of friendly relations and goodwill of naval forces”
Al-Sawarmi added that the visit constitutes a strong support to the relations between Sudanese and Iranian naval forces.
He also said that the existence of the warships presents a “valuable opportunity” for Sudanese naval crops to acquaint themselves “with the advanced level of weaponry and navigation devices” in the Iranian warships.
Tel Aviv accuses Khartoum and Tehran of joint military cooperation for supplying arms to the Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza Stip. Al-Yarmook is rumored to be linked to Iran and several media reports claimed that the complex was used to produce Shahab rockets which Hamas uses against Israel.
Sudan’s foreign ministry on Monday issued a statement strongly denying any links between the country’s military industry and foreign nations. It accused Israel of spreading false information to justify its attack on Al-Yarmook.
The ministry reiterated its condemnation of the attack and said it was closely monitoring Tel Aviv attempts to wriggle out of its responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese daily newspaper Al-Intibaha reported that the deputy director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Lt-Gen Salah Al-Tayib, received a phone call from CIA director David Petraeus who said that the US was not involved in the attack and did not know about it beforehand.
According to the paper, the US official expressed his government’s concern over the safety of US nationals in Sudan after the attack. For his part, the Sudanese official pledged to provide protection to US nationals in the country.