The Iranian navy will deploy warships to the Atlantic in March, a top commander has said, as the Islamic Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States.
Iran sees the presence of US aircraft carriers in the Gulf as a security concern, and its navy has sought to counter that by showing the flag near US waters.
A flotilla will leave for the Atlantic early in the Iranian new year, starting from March, Iran’s naval deputy commander said on Friday.
“The Atlantic Ocean is far, and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
He said the Sahand, a newly built stealth destroyer, would be one of the warships.
The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters and is equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and has electronic warfare capabilities.
Hassani said in December that Iran would soon send two to three vessels on a mission to Venezuela.
A senior Iranian military official said last month that the navy could sail in the Atlantic near US waters since US aircraft carriers were allowed to move around in international waters near Iran…
Iran has warned that if it cannot sell its oil due to US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf. A third of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.