Iran appears to be beefing up its naval presence in the Red Sea region and expanding its maritime patrols, Israel’s defense minister said.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz unveiled satellite images of four Iranian warships operating in the Red Sea during a meeting of the Annual Economist Government Roundtable in Greece, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
“The presence of Iran’s military forces in the Red Sea in recent months is the most significant in a decade,” Mr. Gantz said. “It is a direct threat to trade, energy, and the global economy.”
Iran already has one of the largest missile programs in the region, reportedly possessing thousands of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian officials claim their long-range missiles can hit targets more than 1,200 miles away, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Islamic republic is experimenting with a satellite launcher that could be used to develop an intercontinental missile capable of threatening Europe, Mr. Gantz said.
“Iran is a prime example of a widespread regional and global threat,” he said.
Israel is monitoring the situation in the Red Sea and will “act forcefully” to defend its citizens from those who threaten or carry out attacks, Mr. Gantz warned.
“At the same time, we are ready to work together with partners and build stability and prosperity in the region,” he said.