Earlier in the summer a spate of alarmist news reports suggested a pair of Iranian warships which had recently rounded Africa's Cape of Good Hope were bound to cross the Atlantic toward Venezuela. After prior US attempts to thwart Iranian-Venezuelan cooperation, which included instances of the US seizing fuel bound for the Maduro government, the questioned remained whether the Biden administration would act.
However, the ships' projected destination proved to be entirely unfounded, especially as they within past weeks made their way north up Africa's west coast. An alarmed Danish military has now posted photos of the two Iranian vessels currently traversing the Baltic Sea, headed toward Russia.
.@forsvaretdk følger rutinemæssigt to iranske krigsskibe i dansk farvand. Det drejer sig om det ombyggede tankskib MAKRAN ved Femern Bælt og fregatten SAHAND ved Bornholm. Det forventes, at de er på vej til den årlige flådeparade i Sankt Petersborg. #dkforsvar Foto: Flyvevåbnet pic.twitter.com/wlvdpaeS2f— Forsvaret (@forsvaretdk) July 22, 2021
CNN also confirms that "Two Iranian ships that once appeared to be headed to Venezuela are now in the Baltic Sea approaching the Russian city of St. Petersburg, according to MarineTraffic, a website that tracks ships."
One of the ships is Iran's largest military vessel, the IRINS Makran, at 228-meters (748-foot) long, considered a "floating military base" - which was domestically produced after being converted from a oil tanker - and is capable of carrying helicopters, small submarines, and launching missiles.
It is being escorted by the new Iranian destroyer Sahand, and both were photographed by the Royal Danish Air Force cruising near the Danish island of Bornholm, which lies just south of Sweden and northeast of Germany.
"It is expected that they are on their way to the annual naval parade in St. Petersburg," Denmark's military stated on Twitter.
Russia's defense ministry had earlier invited the participation of Iran's navy at a military parade in St. Petersburg. The naval parade will run on Sunday and is expected to include over 50 vessels, a number of them from foreign allies of Russia.
Military analysts observed seven Iranian fast-attack ships attached to the deck of the Makran, which are typically deployed by the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces. Likely there are IRGC members aboard the Makran, given part of its capability is the rapid deployment of Iranian special forces anywhere in the world.