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Iran's naval forces thwart pirate attack on Iranian merchant vessel in Red Sea

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows the Iranian Navy’s Jamaran destroyer during a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman waters.

Iranian naval forces thwarted an overnight pirate attack on one of the country’s merchant vessels in the Red Sea following a heavy exchange of fire, a senior commander said Wednesday.

Iranian Navy's deputy head of operations, Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajeddini, said the escort flotilla of the army's naval unit, led by the locally-manufactured destroyer Jamaran, promptly responded to a distress call from an Iranian ship in the Red Sea, and engaged with the attacking boats.

“Thanks to the effective [naval] presence and after heavy exchanges, the attacking boats made off,” the senior commander noted.

He, however, stopped short of providing details of the ship that was targeted or the forces that launched the overnight attack.

It's not the first time Iranian vessels have faced an attack. On May 18, Iranian naval forces rescued a trading vessel from a pirate attack in the Red Sea.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said at the time that one of the country’s merchant ships in the area requested help after coming under attack from pirates.

He noted that the Iranian Navy units, tasked with escorting trade vessels, were immediately dispatched to the zone, and took action against the assailants.

The attackers were forced to flee after an exchange of fire with the Iranian naval forces, the commander said, adding that the trade ship was en route to its destination.

Iranian naval forces had prevented pirates from hijacking one of the country’s trade vessels in the Gulf of Aden less than a week earlier.

In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, safeguarding merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.

Iran’s Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.

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