"We make this clarification to prevent wrong interpretations," a ministry source told the Saudi Press Agency, adding that the permit was given on the request of the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh.
The Iranians had requested through official channels to allow two Iranian naval ships — Naghdi and Kharg — and a helicopter to dock at Jeddah port from Feb. 1 to 7, during a training voyage for naval students.
The Saudi Defense Ministry then approved the friendly visit of the navy ships, the source said. Later the Iranian Embassy requested the docking of two other warships instead of Naghdi and Kharg, and a helicopter.
The source, however, pointed out that the purpose of the naval ships visit was not aimed at confronting Iranophobia as stated by the Iranian Navy commander Adm. Habibollah Sayari.
The Saudi official said the permission was granted to the Iranian ships on the basis of a long-term tradition of naval forces in the world and international charters.
"We also wanted to maintain friendly relations with other countries upholding the principle of good intentions, and strengthen our relations with them on the basis of mutual respect and confidence," he added.