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Iran to Deploy Warships to Atlantic, Closer to US Waters

Iran to Deploy Warships to Atlantic, Closer to US Waters

Saturday, 5 January, 2019 - 09:15
The Iranian frigate Alvand (R) docks in Port Sudan with supply ship Bushehr on May 6, 2014, one of a growing number of naval deployments outside the Gulf | AFP
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran is to send its newest warship to the Atlantic Ocean on a five-month mission -- the navy's longest in a decade, as the Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States, its arch-foe.

"The navy has had a plan to deploy a flotilla to the Atlantic Ocean for a few years and now everything seems prepared to launch the mission," said Fars news agency, which is considered close to Iran's military.

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 American waters.

Rear Admiral Touraj Hassani told the official IRNA news agency on Friday that the mission would start early in the next Iranian year, which begins in late March.

“The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” he said.

The flotilla will comprise the new guided missile frigate destroyer escort Sahand, which was unveiled just last month, and the recently upgraded 33,000-ton fuel ship Kharg.

The ships are among Iran's largest and both are capable of carrying helicopters.

Hassani said in December that Iran would soon send two to three vessels on a mission to Venezuela.

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