Egypt allows Iranian warship through Suez despite U.S. objection

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CAIRO — Egypt has again allowed an Iranian Navy ship to pass the Suez
Canal toward Syria.

A senior official said the Egyptian Navy approved the passage of an
Iranian ship loaded with weapons to move from the Red Sea to the
Mediterranean Sea.

The Iranian Navy frigate IS Alvand passes through the Suez Canal at Ismailia, Egypt, on Feb. 22. The frigate, accompanied by the replenishment ship IS Kharg, entered the Suez Canal en route to Syria. /AP

The official said Egypt dismissed a request by the United
States to stop the Iranian ship at the canal.

“The Egyptian Navy refused a U.S. request to strike an Iranian ship
loaded with weapons that was on its way to Syria through the Suez Canal,” Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said.

In an Aug. 26 interview with an Egyptian television station, Al Hayat,
Mamish, replaced as Egyptian Navy commander earlier this month, did not say when the Iranian weapons ship traveled through the canal.

Mamish, a former member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said he was authorized to make all decisions on the canal, a leading earner of revenue for Egypt.

Mamish, whose remarks were also reported by Egypt’s official daily Al
Ahram, said the Egyptian military objected to deployment of U.S. Navy ships at the southern entrance of the canal in January 2011. At the time, President Hosni Mubarak faced massive unrest, which led to his ouster by the military 18 days later.

In the interview, Mamish said the Egyptian Navy has maintained tight
control over the canal. The retired vice admiral said no foreign navy could
conduct operations in the narrow waterway without Egypt’s approval.