Iranian Warships Destined for Atlantic
by Joshua Levitt
Iranian Naval Admiral Afshin Rezayee on Tuesday said Iran’s Navy plans to deploy warships in the Atlantic Ocean, the semi-official FARS News Agency reported.
Commander of the Navy’s Fourth Naval Zone, Admiral Rezayee said, “The previous flotillas of warships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea and passed the Suez Channel and even sailed through the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea. Now we intend to enter the Atlantic Ocean and this will be materialized after dispatch of the next flotillas of warships.”
Rezayee said the warships are sent to international waters for a three-month stretch, and this would be Iran’s 29th flotilla, which would include two logistic and combat warships, as well as one subsurface vessel.
The statement comes a week after defense magazine Jane’s unveiled satellite photography of Iran’s new Fateh-class submarine, the largest Iran has ever built, which it launched into the Persian Gulf. Iran is also building a second at the Caspian port of Bandar Anzali. Jane’s said that at about 48 meters, the Fateh-class is bigger than the largest subs built by North Korea, which is believed to have helped Iran produce its 29-meter Ghadir midget subs. The one being built at Bandar Anzali will also be the first submarine launched in the Caspian.
Last month, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that Iran plans to dispatch its next flotilla of warships to the high seas in early 2014 to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks, FARS reported.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen, FARS said. The Gulf of Aden, linking the Indian Ocean to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is how Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the U.S. and Europe.
The Admiral’s statement comes on the heels of a U.S.-brokered international treaty that lifted economic sanctions on the regime.