By Andrew Restuccia - 02/16/11 05:54 PM EST
Iran is reportedly planning to send two warships through the Suez Canal, a major oil-shipping route in Egypt.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called the move a “provocation,” according to CNN.
The Suez Canal has been very much in the spotlight in recent weeks, amid fears that political unrest in Egypt and other countries in the region could affect oil supply. The news, which is still developing, caused oil prices to jump Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking to reporters Wednesday after a Senate hearing, said he is concerned about the news.
"I think we have concern. We certainly want stability in the Middle East. Egypt is a critical part of that stability," he said.
The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, allowing ships access from Europe to Asia without having to navigate around Africa. The canal is controlled by the government of Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak resigned last week after protests against his government.
Those protests have stirred unrest in other Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, where the United States has pledged moral support for anti-government demonstrators.