Navy Commander: US Afraid of Iran’s Fleet in Atlantic
TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said that the country’s presence in the international waters of the Atlantic Ocean makes the US distressful.
“While Americans are present some 12 miles off Iranian waters, they are afraid of Iran’s naval fleet in the Atlantic that is sailing 5,000 miles far from US,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi said on Saturday.
“Our presence in the Atlantic is a response to the Americans’ claims that Iran could never sail in the ocean,” he added.
Iran has deployed Makran warship (floating forward staging base) and Sahand destroyer in the Atlantic Ocean.
Makran logistics ship carries 110,000 tons of fuel and can stay in waters for 10 years without the need for refueling, Rear Admiral Khanzadi said, adding that the ship is equipped with an advanced water desalination system and hence can provide a persistent presence of naval fleet in open waters.
The Islamic Republic of Iran built Makran ship in six months which surprised Western countries, the commander noted.
Up to now, Americans were present in our region and we monitored them but from now on, the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is creating trends in the Atlantic, he added.
Considering that African countries of the Atlantic do not have a navy and hence are no threat to US and on the other hand, European countries also make no threat against US, the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran – that fighting oppression is one of its principles – in the Atlantic is worrying Americans, he added.
Elsewhere, Rear Admiral Khanzadi said that Iran’s home-made destroyer, Damavand, and the indigenized warship named Konarak will join the Navy in the next two months, adding that the Navy will also be equipped with an ocean-going vessel soon.
In relevant remarks late last month, Iranian Deputy Army Commander for Coordination Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that presence of the Iranian warships in international waters, including the Atlantic Ocean, increases the country’s strategic depth.
“In the past, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army had succeeded in sending its fleets of warships to distant waters, including the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, and has now managed to fulfill its promise of deploying in the Atlantic Ocean by dispatching Makran warship (floating forward staging base) and Sahand destroyer,” Rear Admial Sayyari said.
He added that the measure is a new chapter in Iran's naval presence in international waters, and stated, “Iran has shown that it has the potential to safeguard maritime economy beyond the Northern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.”
“Also, with its powerful presence in the high seas, Iran will be able to help strengthen the country's political diplomacy and help interaction and exchange of know-how and information among the world navies,” Rear Admiral Sayyari said.
“The presence of the strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army thousands of kilometers away from its shores has increased the strategic depth of our dear Iran. As always, we emphasize that such actions and missions are not a threat to any country and they can rather be useful in the framework of various treaties to maintain the security of countries, and to combat maritime terrorism and increase maritime rescue operations,” he added.
Rear Admiral Sayyari blasted certain countries which have colonial records and increased tensions and arms race with their fruitless presence in other regions for expressing concern about Iran's presence in the Atlantic Ocean, and said it shows the correctness of Iran’s decision to send fleet of warships to the region and send a message of peace and friendship.
His comments came after remarks by Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby against two Iranian vessels sailing in international waters.
Kirby had said that Washington is tracking the two Iranian vessels which could be carrying military equipment and may be bound for Venezuela and reserves the right to take "appropriate measures” if they are determined to pose a threat.
Also the Politico magazine had reported late in May that “the US national security community is monitoring two Iranian naval vessels whose ultimate destination may be Venezuela”.
"An Iranian frigate and the Makran, a former oil tanker that was converted to a floating forward staging base, have been heading South along the East coast of Africa," it quoted three people familiar with the situation as saying.