Iran's navy chief says Iran had "no hostile intentions" by sending two warships to the Mediterranean for the first time in more than 30 years.

Adm. Habibollah Sayyari says the voyage was meant to build up Iran's defense capabilities.

The ships arrived at Syria's Latakia seaport last week after sailing through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean — the first such trip in at least three decades. Iran said the trip was for a training mission but Israel said it was provocative.

Sayyari told a news conference in the Syrian capital of Damascus Monday that Israeli fears were unjustified. He also said the visit was not connected to the current turmoil in the Arab world.

He refused to say how long the ships would remain in the Mediterranean.