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Iranian Navy to deploy for first time 86th flotilla to Antarctic ‘in near future’

The file photo shows Iran's Dena destroyer (L) and Makran forward base ship during their round-the-world mission.

The Iranian Navy has announced plans to deploy one of its flotilla of warships to the Antarctic for the first time ever “in the near future.”

The deployment of Iranian warships to the Antarctic was apparently one of the main goals of a recent mission by the 86th flotilla, which returned to the country a few days ago after a round-the-world voyage, Iran's Tasnim news agency said.

The naval fleet, comprised of domestically-manufactured Dena destroyer and Makran forward base ship, entered the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Wednesday, after sailing 63,000 kilometers of sea routes over eight months and a circumnavigation of the globe in 360 degrees.

The 86th flotilla broke the record for the distance an Iranian flotilla has ever sailed in international waters and crossed the Strait of Magellan — the nearest region to the South Pole — during its mission, a main purpose of which was to test the strength of the steel hull of the Dena destroyer in cold waters.

Antarctica is one of the most important strategic regions in the world, with 30 countries having 70 active research centers there.

"Presence in Antarctica is important from various scientific, legal and political, geostrategic, economic aspects, and this region in the future will be a major issue on the international arena,” Tasnim quoted Abolfazl Saleh, head of the Marine Science Research Institute of Iran’s National Institute for Oceanography, as saying.

The news agency added that the establishment of a permanent base by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the South Pole in order to increase the strategic depth of the country has received a lot of attention over the past years.

The 86th naval fleet set sail on a mission around the world form Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas on September 20, 2022.

At one point, the naval fleet passed the coasts of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, finally anchoring in the port of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which coincided with the 120th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Iran and Brazil.

Dena is a Mowj-class destroyer that joined the Iranian Navy in June 2021. The military vessel is equipped with anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes and naval cannons.

Makran is a forward base ship weighing 121,000 tons. The warship can carry five helicopters and is employed for providing logistical support for the combat warships.

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