An Iranian destroyer has warned off a US warship and a couple of reconnaissance aircraft in the strategic Gulf of Aden.
On Monday, two US P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes and a USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) destroyer immediately redirected their routes after the Iranian destroyer, Alborz 72, warned them against coming within the standard five-mile distance of the Iranian Navy’s 34th fleet, IRIB reported.
“We are duty-bound to monitor any foreign warships in international waters as well as anything that would threaten Iran’s national interests,” said the commander of the 34th fleet, Captain Mostafa Tajeddini.
Captain Tajeddini said Iran’s presence in high seas is in line with international law.
The 34th naval fleet is currently sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, to provide security for Iranian and international merchant vessels.
Iran’s Alborz destroyer, foreground, before leaving Iran’s waters (undated photo)
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 also been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 in order to protect 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.
On Monday, Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that Iran’s naval forces escorted some 2,900 Iranian ships and had 180 armed confrontations with pirates over the past seven years.
Iran provided military assistance to 25 foreign ships over the same period, Sayyari noted.