Press TV, Tehran
Two Iranian naval vessels are sailing across the South Atlantic Ocean in southwest of the African continent. The two warships have sailed for up to 12,000 kilometres over a course of a month now and are bound for north Atlantic.
Deputy Coordinator for Iran’s Army Rear admiral Habibollah Sayyari made the announcement on Thursday, saying this is the farthest point that an Iranian warship has ever sailed to.
The mission is carried out using two domestically-built vessels, the Sahand frigate and the Makran floating base. Fitted with a large helicopter pad, Makran was formerly used as an oil tanker.
The Sahand frigate is a radar-evading vessel that is equipped with torpedo launchers and electronic warfare technologies.
The long journey comes as US officials have claimed that Iran’s navy cannot operate in "blue water". By blue water navies, the US military means the ones that are capable of sailing in open ocean at great distances from their home countries and can operate for extended periods.
In 2008, Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei hailed the Iranian army’s navy as a strategic force.
The navy then defined new roles and missions for itself. Among them was to expand its presence in the high seas and distant oceans, advance maritime diplomacy and ensure the safety of Iranian trade vessels by maintaining its presence in the Gulf of Aden.
This is the first time Iran’s naval ships have set sail this far in open seas. Iranian officials say this is a turning point for the country’s naval force, which will help ensure safer maritime trade around the world.
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