Iranian Warships Dock in Syria

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Two Iranian warships docked at the Syrian port of Tartous on Saturday, after Egypt granted them passage through the Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea.

According to media reports, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked Egyptian authorities to allow the two ships -- a destroyer and a supply ship bound for Syria -- to use the canal, DPA reported.

Saturday's passage was the second time since 1979, when Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, that Egypt allowed Iranian warships to traverse the Suez Canal.

In February 2011, after a popular uprising forced former President Hosni Mubarak to resign, the interim Egyptian military government granted passage to two Iranian freighters sailing to Syria.

According to Iran, the ships' crews will provide training to Syrian naval forces. The state-sponsored IRNA news agency reported that Saturday's passage displayed Iran's naval prowess and delivered a "message of peace to the nations of the region and the world."

One Iranian lawmaker said the deployment of ships was a "clear message" against U.S. adventurism and he warned of a possible "crushing response" if the U.S. made what he called a "strategic mistake" in Syria, FARS reported.

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