Iran sends warships to the Atlantic for a once-in-a-lifetime operation.
According to Iran’s state television, an Iranian destroyer and support vessel are travelling across the Atlantic Ocean on a rare operation far from the Islamic Republic.
The new domestically manufactured destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran are on their way to Venezuela, according to US media sources.
The ships left Bandar Abbas, Iran’s southern port, last month, according to Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
He called their endeavor the Iranian navy’s longest and most difficult expedition to date.
A short video of the destroyer travelling across the Atlantic’s rough seas was published by Iranian official television. The footage was most likely taken from the Makran, a converted commercial oil tanker with a movable helicopter launch pad.
“The Navy is increasing its sea-faring capacity and demonstrating long-term durability in unfavorable seas and unfavorable weather conditions in the Atlantic,” Mr Sayyari said, adding that the warships would not stop at any country’s port during the operation.
On the deck of the Makran, images from Maxar Technologies dated April 28 appear to show seven Iranian fast-attack ships traditionally associated with the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
Planet Labs satellite photographs indicate that it left a port in Bandar Abbas around April 29.
The ships’ final destination could be Venezuela, according to the website Politico, which first reported it in late May.
Iran maintains close connections with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shipping gasoline and other products to the country in the face of US sanctions aimed at the country’s fuel shortages.
Venezuela is thought to have paid Iran for the shipments, despite its own sanctions imposed by the US.
Mr Maduro’s closest advisor has refuted claims in the press that the ships will land there.
During a press conference on May 31, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, refused to specify where the Makran was headed.
“Iran is always present in international waters, and it has the right to be present in international waters under international law,” he said. “No government has the authority to violate this right, and I warn that no one should make a mistake. Those who sit in. (This is a brief piece.)