Israel Says Iranian Warships in Red Sea Present a Global Threat

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Iran's satellite launcher tests may help it develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach central Europe

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Satellite images of Iranian war ship in the Red Sea.
Satellite images of Iranian war ship in the Red Sea.Credit: Israeli Defense Ministry
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Iran has several warships stationed in the Red Sea and that their presence poses a global and regional threat.

Speaking at a gathering in Athens, Gantz presented satellite images of what he identified as four Iranian warships.

"The presence of Iranian military forces in the Red Sea in past months is the most significant in a decade," he said. "This is a direct threat to global trade, energy and the economy."

The defense chief also discussed the recent test of an Iranian satellite launcher, which took place last week, as indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear pact were set to resume. Iran carried out a second test of its Zuljanah satellite launcher, which uses long-range ballistic technology.

"Its technology can help develop an intercontinental missile with a range of thousands of kilometers," he said of the satellite launcher test. "This can also present a threat to central Europe."

Gantz recalled the Israeli interception of three Hezbollah drones over the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday. They were on their way toward the Karish gas field, which is in Israeli territorial waters, but Lebanon disputes this ownership. The launch of the drones "was an attempt to disrupt the negotiations being conducted over the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon," he said.

"This act is first and foremost an attack on the people of Lebanon, who are groaning under financial difficulties," he said. "All of this is done in the service of the Iranian ayatollahs and their interests in the region. This Hezbollah act, which has no operational significance, has the potential for miscalculations and to harm stability. Hezbollah's attempt shows that they are not accurately assessing the reality in the region."

He added, "Israel is monitoring everything that happens in its area, and will strongly respond to anyone who tries to harm its citizens and residents. In addition, we are prepared to work together with partners and build stability and prosperity in the region."

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