Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari rejected some recent media reports claiming that US navy warships have rescued an Iranian trade vessel which had come under pirate attack in international waters.
Sayyari told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday that the report was not true. “Such a thing has not happened.”
He also noted the military objective pursued by Iran’s plan for naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean near the US maritime borders, and said, “Our presence near the US maritime borders does not aim to serve a specific military arrangement.”
He stressed that all countries, including Iran, are entitled to the right of voyage and deployment in free waters, and reiterated that Iran does not intend to trespass on any country’s territorial waters.
“Based on the international rules and regulations, we are entitled to deploy in free waters and we might be present near a country, but international law does not forbid this,” Sayyari added.
In relevant remarks in February, Sayyari confirmed earlier news about the Navy’s plan for voyage and deployment in the Atlantic Ocean near the United States’ maritime waters in the Atlantic Ocean.
“The Army’s fleet of warships is now in the Gulf of Aden and they are moving towards the Atlantic Ocean,” he told FNA.
Senior Iranian Navy commanders announced last month that the country has sent several fleets of warships to the US maritime borders.
“The Iranian Army’s naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,” Commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad announced.
The admiral, who is also the commander of the Iranian Army’s 4th Naval Zone, said, “Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message.”
Sayyari had earlier informed of Tehran’s plans to send its naval forces to the Atlantic to deploy along the US marine borders, and in September 2012 he said that this would happen “in the next few years”.
The plan is part of Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf. The US Navy’s 5th fleet is based in Bahrain – across the Persian Gulf from Iran – and the US has conducted two major maritime war games in the last two years.
In September 2011, Sayyari had announced that the country planned to move vessels into the Atlantic Ocean to start a naval buildup “near maritime borders of the United States”.
“Like the arrogant powers that are present near our maritime borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders,” Sayyari said.
The Iranian navy has been developing its presence in international waters since 2010, regularly launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates operating in the area.