Tehran: After five days the explosion rattled an arms factory in Khartoum, two navy vessels of Iran have docked at a Sudan port on Monday sending “a message of peace and friendship” across the region.
The Iranian official news agency, IRNA, reported that the “Shahid Naqdi” corvette and a freighter left from a port in southern Iran last month, passed through the Red Sea and docked at a port in Sudan.
The Iranian 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,” the report by IRNA said.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said that the vessels docked in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
Two people were reported to have been killed after fire broke out last week at Al-Yarmouk arms factory in southern Khartoum. Sudanese officials said that four military planes attacked Al-Yarmouk plant and Israel was behind it.
Another report by Iran’s Press TV said 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 commanders of the fleet are scheduled to meet with the Sudanese Navy commanders during their stay in the North African country, Press TV reported.
Iran’s Navy has been multiplying its naval presence in the international waters since last year, deploying vessels to the Indian Ocean and dispatching, in February 2011, two ships via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.
Moreover, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran, within the framework of the international efforts to combat piracy.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for thousands of vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Sudan has served as a major hub for arms trafficking throughout the region. Top Israeli defense official, Amos Gilad, said last week that Sudan “serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.”
Meanwhile, local Sudanese newspaper al-Intiba reported Monday that CIA Director David Petraeus called Sudanese Deputy Intelligence Head, Saleh A-Tayeb, shortly after the alleged Israeli attack in Khartoum and denied reports indicating that the US had early knowledge of the attack.
The Sudanese paper quoted an official as saying that the Americans are fearful for the safety of diplomats in Khartoum.
The source further added that the Sudanese official explained Sudan’s position to Petraeus, adding that it bares the responsibility of protecting the foreign citizens residing in the African country.
However, according to the report published in the local al-Intiba newspaper, A-Tayeb told Petraeus that Washington could have pressured Israel into refraining from carrying out the attack.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s foreign ministry on Monday denied that Iran had any involvement in the bombed military factory.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms what is known by all: that Iran has no need to manufacture weapons in Sudan, for Iran or for its allies,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We want to deny any relation between Sudan’s military manufacturing and any foreign partner,” it added.