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Report: Iranian warships dock in Sudan in show of support

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 31, 2012 -- Updated 0028 GMT (0828 HKT)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) meets with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on September 26, 2011.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) meets with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on September 26, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two Iranian warships are at Port Sudan, Sudanese state media report
  • Their visit is a show of support and friendship, Iran and Sudan say
  • An airstrike destroyed an arms factory in Sudan last week; Iran and Sudan blame Israel
  • Sudan denies that the factory was producing arms for Iran or its allies

(CNN) -- Two Iranian warships have docked in Sudan carrying "a message of support and friendship," Sudanese state media said.

The ships arrived in Port Sudan on Sunday and will stay until Wednesday, according to SUNA, the official Sudanese news agency.

The presence "clearly shows the solid support of political and diplomatic relationships between the Sudanese and Iranian navies," the agency quoted Sudanese army spokesman Savarmi Khaled Saad as saying Monday.

The warships arrived less than a week after a weapons factory in Khartoum was bombed, killing two people, in what Sudanese officials said was an airstrike by Israel.

Sudan blames Israel for weapons factory blast

Talking tough on Iran

Israel has declined to comment on the attack in the east African country. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing last Tuesday.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry issued a statement Monday condemning what it called "a brutal assault carried out by the State of Israel" on the Yarmouk Industrial Complex, SUNA said.

It also dismissed suggestions that the weapons factory was manufacturing arms for Iran or its allies, denying "any link between the Sudanese military manufacturing output and any external party," according to SUNA

The statement accused Israel of using "misleading leaks" to the media to allege that the factory had ties "to the states of Iran and Syria and to the Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine (Hamas), and to Hezbollah in Lebanon."

Iran has no need for weapons to be manufactured in Sudan, the Foreign Ministry statement insisted.

That assertion was repeated Monday by IRNA, Iran's state-run news agency.

Iran last week condemned what it also says was an Israeli airstrike on Khartoum, and it called the strike a clear violation of international laws, according to the news agency.

An Iranian flotilla that left Iranian waters in September included a navy helicopter carrier and a destroyer, IRNA reported.

It "aimed to echo the message of peace and friendship to the neighboring states and guarantee security of the seafaring and shipping lines vis-a-vis sea piracy," the news agency said.

CNN's Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

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