Iranian Navy Flotilla Remains in Gulf of Aden as US Aircraft Carrier Leaves
Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has dismissed reports about a warning to Iranian ships in the Gulf of Aden, saying the flotilla is currently carrying out its mission in the strategic region.
“The 34th fleet of the Iranian Navy is currently in the Gulf of Aden at the entrance to the Bab al-Mandab Strait and is patrolling [the area] and conducting its mission,” Sayyari said on Saturday.
He added that improving security along Iran’s sea communications routes is one of the objectives of the country’s naval forces.
The 34th fleet of the Iranian Navy, which comprises the Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz destroyer, left the country’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas for the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandab Strait on April 8 in line with the Islamic Republic’s policy of safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region.
Hours earlier, the US military announced that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has left the waters around Yemen and headed back to the Persian Gulf.
Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren made the announcement on Friday, claiming that Iran’s nine-ship convoy also left the waters.
“I think it’s fair to say that this appears to be a de-escalation of some of the tensions that were being discussed earlier in the week,” Warren said.
The Pentagon spokesman added that there were no communications or encounters between the ships of the two countries.
The US had sent the carrier and the cruiser USS Normandy toward the Gulf of Aden during last weekend, amid Saudi Arabia’s aggression against the Arab world’s poorest country.
US Central Command moved the ships due to the situation in Yemen, Warren said on Monday, denying reports that the move aimed at the interception of Iranian ships present in the region.
“They are not going to intercept Iranian ships,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “That is absolutely not the case.”
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in Persian Gulf since November 2008 in order to safeguard merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.