Having been un-shunned and then re-shunned by the UN and US over the Syria peace conference, an Iranian news agency has confirmed that for the first time in history, Iran's navy has dispatched warships on a mission to the Atlantic Ocean. No specific military mission or targets were announced but previous statements had discussed the move to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks. Iran's Rear Admiral had a message of peace and friendship for the rest of the world and said the nation only sought to display its defensive capabilities (just like China, then?).
The flotilla, consisting of a Khark logistic and helicopter-carrier warship and Sabalan destroyer, could journey as much as 25,000 nautical kilometers in the next three months, Fars News reported Tuesday.
No specific military mission was identified, and no ports of call were mentioned.
Bidding farewell to the crews, Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Moussavi said Iran has a message of peace and friendship for the nations of the world and only seeks to display its defensive power capabilities.
But previous statements by high-ranking Iranian naval personnel had declared Iran’s intention to dispatch a next flotilla of warships to the high seas at around this date to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks.
According to navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, “The navy’s next flotilla will be dispatched to either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic on January 21 – February 20.” He underlined that the flotilla will pass through the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Atlantic Ocean.
Since November 2008, the Iranian navy has been operating anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, after Somali buccaneers hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
The Gulf of Aden — which links the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal — is a critical energy corridor and the primary route for Persian Gulf oil shipped to Western markets.
Oil prices are spiking a little this morning though we are not sure the move is related to this action - perhaps just more reflective of the farce that the Syria peace conference has become.