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Iranian navy threatens to break Israeli blockade

Monday, June 07, 2010 Israel Today Staff

The Iranian Red Crescent on Monday announced that it had two aid ships ready to set sail for Gaza to break Israel's maritime blockade, and Iran's Revolutionary Guard offered to send its forces to thwart any Israeli attempt to intercept the vessels.

The Revolutionary Guard later extended its offer of protection to any ships trying to break the Gaza maritime blockade, but had yet to receive authorization from Iran's religious authorities to take such action.

If Iranian warships were to accompany future blockade-busting "aid" flotillas, it would likely spark a very dangerous showdown with the Israeli navy, and possibly lead to regional war.

Observers noted that it is unlikely Iranian warships would be able to get to the Mediterranean to carry out their threat, as they would need to pass through Egypt's Suez Canal to do so. Iran and Egypt are regional rivals, and the probability that Egypt would let Iranian warships pass through the canal is small, especially since there would undoubtedly be heavy international pressure on Egypt to not let the Iranians pass.