A top commander in Iran’s navy said Friday that Iran, which is contesting America’s right to put an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, will deploy warships in the Atlantic Ocean.
The group of warships is expected to set sail in March, according to Rear Adm. Touraj Hassani, Iran’s naval deputy commander. Hassani spoke to the state-controlled IRNAmedia outlet.
“The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” he told IRNA, Reuters reported.
“By their continuous presence in international waters, Iranian naval forces aim to implement the orders of commander-in-chief of the armed forces (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), wave the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, thwart the Iranophobia plots, and secure shipping routes.”
Not that the Iranian Navy is something we should worry too much about if tensions escalate, but why hasn’t a single US media source mentioned this? “#Iran to send warships close to US waters as tensions between them escalate” @USNavy https://t.co/8OqUMLO9zR
— Rouzy Vafaie (@RouzySC) January 5, 2019
If Iran follows through on its threat, it would be the closest Iranian forces have come to the U.S. mainland since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the shah and brought an Islamic regime to power, CBS News reported.
Iran said in 2014 and 2017 that it would sail ships in the Atlantic, but did not follow through.
The Sahand, a stealth destroyer, could be among the vessels that will cruise the Atlantic, Business Insider reported.
In December, Hassani said Iran would send ships to Venezuela. Iranian officials have also mentioned sending navy ships to Mexico.
Iran has upped its rhetoric due to the presence of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Persian Gulf.
“We will not allow Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to come near our territorial waters in the Persian Gulf,” Iranian Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said last month.
However, the Stennis and its support ships entered the gulf anyhow.
“We are trying to be more operationally unpredictable,” Lt. Chloe Morgan, 5th Fleet spokeswoman, said, according to the Navy Times. “Now we’re switching it up because our adversaries are watching closely. We want to be operationally unpredictable to our enemies, but strategically predictable to our partners.”
Iran is also increasing its challenge to the United States with its plans to launch three space vehicles. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned Iran’s plan, according to The Washington Post.
#Iran plans to fire off Space Launch Vehicles with virtually same technology as ICBMs. The launch will advance its missile program. US, France, UK & Germany have already stated this is in defiance of UNSCR 2231. We won’t stand by while the regime threatens international security.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2019
“The United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime’s destructive policies place international stability and security at risk,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation.”
“The United States has continuously cautioned that ballistic missile and SLV launches by the Iranian regime have a destabilizing effect on the region and beyond,” he said. “France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many nations from around the world have also expressed deep concern.”