The Iranian Navy is sending a fleet of warships to the Atlantic Ocean. Tehran says the ships will be defending sea routes while providing training for their crews.
Iran’s 29th fleet includes the destroyer, Sabalan, and helicopter-carrying support ship, Kharg, the state news agency FARS reported. It is to sail 25,000 nautical miles over its three-month long trip.
On Tuesday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari was attending a ceremony in the port city of Bandar Abba in Southern Iran to wish the fleet bon voyage.
His deputy, Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi, who was also present, said Iran is sending a message of peace and friendship to other nations by sending its fleet to international waters in the Atlantic.
The Sabalan is a 1,100-ton UK-built Alvand-class warship, which is usually classified as a frigate. Pre-revolution Iran commissioned fours such ships, but one of them was sunk by the US Navy in 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War.
The Kharg, also built in Britain, is an Ol-class tanker commissioned by the Persian Shah’s government with modifications to the original design and was delivered to the new revolutionary Iran in 1984.
Iran first announced its plans to dispatch warship to the Atlantic Ocean in December.
The Iranian Navy has been boosting its presence in international waters since November 2008, when it deployed warships to the Gulf of Aden in response to the Somalia pirates’ threat.