Iran ships 'on friendly visit' dock in Jeddah port
Jeddah, February 26, 2012
The Saudi Defence Ministry allowed Iranian naval vessels to dock at one of its ports in the Red Sea earlier this month during a training mission, Saudi Arabia's Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Saudi defence officials played down the significance of Iran's unusual visit to Jeddah Islamic Port, saying in a statement on its state news agency SPA the move was approved as part of a training tour "in the context of friendly visits".
The Defense Ministry said two naval vessels and a military helicopter had been given permission to use the port from February 1-7 on the request of the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh.
Three other naval vessels and a helicopter were sent to the port around the same time for the same purpose, the statement said.
The ships passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean and returned via the same route on February 21, without incident. There were conflicting reports as to whether they had docked in a Syrian port while in the Mediterranean. - Reuters