By Robert Windrem, NBC News investigative producer for special projects
U.S. officials say they believe that Iranian warships' planned transit of the Suez Canal is still uncertain, that neither the Egyptians nor Iranians have made final decisions, despite early reports that the plan had been scrapped.
On Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigor Lieberman made some news when he spoke about the transit, calling it a “provocation.”
The Iranians said they planned to send two warships through the canal and in fact Iranian TV reported Thursday that the ships were en route.
The Suez Canal Authority runs the canal and must grant permission for warships to pass through the canal. Only warships require permission.
The authority said Wednesday that the Iranians had made and rescinded a request, which the Iranians subsequently denied.
U.S. officials say that the transit is "still in play" and will be "for a couple of days," that it's uncertain the Egyptians will grant permission and uncertain that the Iranians will ask for it.
"All parties are still debating this," said the official.
As for whether the transit and movement into the Mediterranean is a "provocation" as the Israeli claim, a U.S. official said that in fact the operation does appear to be nothing more than a training mission.