Iran is set to deploy a fleet of warships to the western Atlantic Ocean in the coming months, a naval commander said Friday, in an apparent bid to counter the presence of a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani told the state-run IRNA news site the flotilla of warships would depart for the Atlantic in March, and the mission would take several months.
The 13,000-ton vessel named after a mountain in northern Iran, joined the Islamic republic’s naval fleet in December.
Iran, which has been developing its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes as a part of an arms development program initiative since 1992, often boasts of new achievements or acquisitions that cannot be independently verified.
The flotilla announcement is likely intended to boost Iran’s military image amid rising tensions with the United States, which in November re-imposed all sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In December, the US deployed an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, the first since America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and breaking the longest carrier absence in the volatile region since at least the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
A day after the arrival of the USS John C. Stennis, Iran launched a military drill in the waterway’s strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.