Iran has backed down for the second time in two weeks on the attempt to launch two ships to Gaza, two days after the United States and Israel sent a dozen warships through the Suez Canal and towards a possible confrontation.
The American government also had called on Egypt not to allow the Iranian ships to enter the Suez Canal.
Iranian Red Crescent youth wing director Mohammed Javad Jafarian said “no definite” date has been set for departure of the ships to Hamas-controlled Gaza. Last week, Iran backed down from its threat to send “voluntary” marines for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to board the boats and defend them against any attempt by Israel to intercept them enrooted to Gaza.
Egypt on Saturday allowed 11 U.S. warships, led by the aircraft carrier USS Truman, and one Israeli ship to pass through the Suez Canal after it closed it to all other boats to ensure a safe and quiet passage for the armada.
It was the largest fleet of warships to sail through the Suez Canal in years, prompting speculation that they were preparing to challenge any Iranian attempt to reach Gaza. The maneuvers also may serve as a warning to Iran if not does cooperate with U.N. officials trying to inspect the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development program.
Two years ago, Iran tried to break Israel’s marine embargo on Gaza, but Israel diverted the ship to Egypt without incident. The boat supposedly was loaded with food and medicine.
The Iranian Students' News Agency reported that Jafarian said the ship that was scheduled to sail to Gaza this week “is humanitarian, in line with navigation international protocols, carries no weapon and it obeys navigation rules, so no military ship has the right to enter the Iranian ship illegally because any aggression is violation of navigation transparent rules.”