Navy Commander: Iranian Warships on Patrolling Mission in Bab Al-Mandab Strait
Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iranian warships are carrying out patrolling missions in Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Gulf of Aden.
“The Navy’s 34th fleet of warships is (now) conducting patrols in Bab al-Mandab Strait,” Sayyari said, addressing a ceremony in Tehran on Thursday.
“We don’t enter any countries’ (territorial) waters and are present in the free waters based on the international laws and regulations,” he added.
The Navy’s 34th Fleet, comprising Alborz destroyer and Bushehr helicopter-carrier warship, is conducting anti-piracy patrols in the high seas and Gulf of Aden.
The mission of the 34th fleet will last about three months in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
On Tuesday night, Commander of the Iranian Navy’s 34th fleet Commodore Mostafa Tajeddini dismissed Pentagon and US media reports that his warships were made to change their route in the Gulf of Aden after receiving warnings from the US navy ships present in the region.
“The news report by the foreign media that we have changed our route after the US fleet’s arrival is only a media ballyhoo,” Tajeddini said.
“We have had communications with many naval units since we entered the Gulf of Aden, but no country has ever dared to warn the Iranian Navy,” he added.
In relevant remarks on Saturday, Sayyari rejected media reports that Iran had been shooed away from the Gulf of Aden by American warships, and stressed Tehran’s firm decision to continue deployment in the waterway to protect the country’s cargo ships from pirate attacks.
Asked about the US and Saudi Arabia’s claims that the Iranian warships planned to deliver weapons to Ansarullah revolutionary movement in Yemen when they received a warning from the US warships and left the region, he said the Iranian fleet of warships were sent to the free waters based on the international laws to protect the cargo ships and oil tankers from pirates’ attacks, and not delivering weapons to other nations.
Implying that allegations of the Saudis and Americans were not true, the Admiral reminded that he, as Iran’s Navy commander, had officially stated the mission of the Iranian fleet and the location of its mission (Gulf of Aden), and the presence and mission of the Iranian warships was completely clear and could be monitored and verified.
He also stressed that Iran would never allow anyone to inspect its ships and vessels.
“We are present in this region and provide security coverage for our ships since, anyway, it is the route for the voyage of our ships,” he said.
Stressing Iran’s firm decision to continue deployment in the international waters, including the Gulf of Aden, he said, “We would never leave the region and give up protecting our cargo ships for the sake of their words.”
He underscored that the Iranian flotilla of warships not only provides security for the country’s cargo ships but also protect other states’ ships and oil tankers from pirate attacks.
Also, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi on Tuesday dismissed the US allegations that the Iranian warships intended to supply weapons to the Houthis and were forced to leave the region after receiving an alarm from an American fleet, saying, “Iran has never entered Yemen’s territorial waters, but conducts routine patrolling in the international waters in the Gulf of Aden and the Sea of Oman, providing service and rescuing even foreign trade vessels, whose countries have appreciated the Iranian navy for rescuing their ships.”
According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.
The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.