A “flotilla” from Iran’s navy will visit the western Atlantic Ocean in the spring, according to Tehran’s official news agency.
In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency published Friday, Rear Adm. Touraj Hasna Moqaddam said that the cruise “would take five months to complete" and feature Iran’s newest domestically-built destroyer, the Sahand.
On Dec. 1, Iran’s state TV reported the commissioning of the Sahand in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
Iran’s navy has acquired two new mini submarines designed for operations in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf, the Iranian state TV reported on Thursday.
Moqaddam’s words echo similar announcements by other senior Iranian leaders telegraphing Atlantic deployments in recent years as a visible counterweight to ongoing U.S. warships that routinely sail the Persian Gulf.
No Iranian cruises to the Western Atlantic ever occurred but Tehran’s vessels began extending their reach to the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy missions.
Iranian media reported that the Sahand-led tour likely would travel to Venezuela, an Iranian partner.
PressTV's website says the encounter occurred March 21 in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
It’s the second Sahand that’s been operated by the Iranian navy but the only one that’s still afloat.
The U.S. Navy obliterated the first Sahand, a British-built warship, on April 18, 1988, in retaliation for an Iranian-laid mine that heavily damaged the guided-missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts four days earlier.
After firing on American warplanes above the Persian Gulf, the Sahand was rocked by both anti-ship missiles and bombs delivered by the destroyer Joseph Strauss and A-6E Intruder jets launched from the aircraft carrier Enterprise, according the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.
A blaze swept the deck of the Sahand, eventually reaching the ship’s magazines, which detonated.
What remained of the vessel sank, killing scores of its crew.