Iran has two warships currently heading toward waters of the Atlantic Ocean, near the U.S. coast, the first time the country has taken such an action.
The destroyer Sabalan and a logistic helicopter carrier Khark will be on the waters for three months, The Associated Press said
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“The warships will have [the] task of securing shipping routes as well as training new personnel,” an Iranian news agency said, according to the AP. Thirty navy cadets are on board to train with the warships’ regular crews.
The announcement that the two warships were being deployed came just one day after the United Nations rescinded an invitation to Iran to a Geneva peace conference about Syria.
Iran officials said the United States forced the invitation to be withdrawn.
“The U.S. put pressure on [U.N. Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon, and he was forced to cancel this invitation, which shows this international body is still under the influence of big powers, headed by the U.S.,” said Allaedin Boroujerdi, a member of Iran’s parliament, according to The Washington Post
Recent increased Iranian naval activity is a response to U.S. Navy deployments in the Persian Gulf. The country has been sending warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial interests from pirates, and also has sent warships to Syria, the AP said.
Although it is the first time Iranian ships have actually traveled toward the Atlantic near the U.S., Iran has threatened such an action in the past. In 2011, CNN quoted a story released by the country’s state-run news agency
that said, “Commander of the Navy of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran broke the news about the plans for the presence of this force in the Atlantic Ocean and said that the same way that the world arrogant power is present near our marine borders, we, with the help of our sailors who follow the concept of the supreme jurisprudence, shall also establish a powerful presence near the marine borders of the United States.”
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