Iran appears to be strengthening its naval presence in the Red Sea region and expanding its maritime patrols, the Israeli 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 Economist Government’s annual roundtable in Greece, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
“The presence of Iranian military forces in the Red Sea in recent months is the largest in a decade,” 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, apparently possessing thousands of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian officials say 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, Gantz said.
“Iran is a prime example of an overall regional and global threat,” he said.
Israel is monitoring the situation in the Red Sea and will “act forcefully” to defend its citizens against those who threaten or carry out attacks, Gantz warned.
“At the same time, we stand ready to work with partners and enhance stability and prosperity in the region,” he added. he said.