Tehran (AFP) – Two Iranian destroyers, sent to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships, have reached the entrance of Bab el-Mandab, a strategic strait between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran’s navy said Thursday.
In another sign of tensions between Gulf rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the Saudi charge d’affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran to hear a “strong protest” over Saudi military action which prevented an Iranian plane from landing in Sanaa.
“We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates,” said the head of the Iranian navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.
The navy has sent the Alborz and Bushehr destroyers to patrol the entrance to the strait, he added.
Bab el-Mandeb, a narrow body of water, is the key strategic entry point into the Red Sea, through which around four million barrels of oil pass each day on ships headed to or from the Suez Canal.
Last week, US officials said an American aircraft carrier and a cruiser left the waters off Yemen and headed back to the Gulf after an Iranian naval convoy also turned back from the area.
Full article: Iran says warships at entrance to key Yemen strait (Yahoo!)