The Saudi Ministry of Defense confirmed Saturday recent press reports that two Iranian battle cruisers, Kharg and Naghdi, docked at the Red Sea seaport of Jeddah en route to Tartous Harbor, east Syria, earlier in February.
“Because these reports have raised questions, the Ministry of Defense wishes to clarify the matter and put an end to speculations,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted a statement by the ministry as saying.
First of all, the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Riyadh submitted an official request for allowing two warships belonging to the Iranian Naval Force to dock at the seaport between February 1 and 7, with a helicopter aboard one of them.
The docking, which falls in the framework of a training tour for cadets of the Iranian Navy and the friendly visits, was approved by Saudi authorities, according to the statement.
Later on, the Embassy requested allowing Bandar Abbas Ship, Alvand vessel, Alborz Ship and a helicopter to dock at the seaport during the same period and replace the Kharg and Naghdi.
The purpose of such docking was part of a training tour for cadets of the Iranian Navy, rather than what has been stated by the Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
Admiral Sayyari had said the tour aimed to communicate with the countries of the region, render false any Iranian threat, and show his country’s capabilities in international waters and foreign ports.
“These approvals come within the framework of a long tradition of naval forces throughout the world, allowing passage and docking within international conventions.
“The stemmed from the keenness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on sustaining strong ties of friendship with all brotherly and friendly countries as well as its commitment to the principle of good faith in order to uphold these relations based on friendship, respect, and mutual trust,” the statement added.