The Iranian Navy’s training and operational fleet of warships is now sailing through the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea after Iranian officials secured the passage of the fleet through contacts with Egyptian authorities.
Two Iranian Navy ships that made their first ever journey through the Suez Canal following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution are currently sailing through the canal before heading towards the Red Sea.
The vessels will pass through the Red Sea later on Thursday and enter the Gulf of Aden, the Public Relations of Iran’s Army said on March 3.
The Iranian warships are due to arrive in zone one of the country’s Naval Forces later.
On Wednesday, a canal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Tomorrow (Thursday), the Iranian ships will cross the canal with the convoy starting in the north from the Mediterranean.”
The official added that the two Iranian naval ships will go through the canal on Thursday morning.
The Iranian Navy dispatched its first training and operational fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden late January.
The fleet of warships left the country’s first naval zone late January, carrying a number of Iranian Navy cadets to the Gulf of Aden.
During the mission, the Iranian Navy cadets are due to be trained and made prepared for defending the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against the continued threat of attack by Somali pirates in future missions.
Earlier, Iranian Navy Lieutenant Commander Rear Admiral Gholam-Reza Khadem Biqam had told FNA that during the mission, the fleet of warships will enter the waters of the Red Sea and then will be dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea.
Elaborating on the important features of the mission, Khadem explained that the fleet would pass through the Suez Canal and would move on a very good route.
He said the mission would last for one year.
The Iranian Navy has started extraterritorial missions mainly in 2008. The Navy has lately dispatched its 10th flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden to defend the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against the continued threat of attack by Somali pirates.
The intelligence-operational fleet of warships, which consisted of Khark warship and Alvand destroyer, were dispatched to the Gulf of Aden on September 1 to fight Somali buccaneers and guard Iranian cargo ships in the volatile region.
Iran’s measure to dispatch the 10th fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden will boost Navy’s operational range in international waters since the Iranian Navy is considered as a strategic regional force with a long operational range.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari in September stressed Iran’s continued naval deployment in the high seas, and said that he Iranian Navy’s presence in the high seas and international waters is part of Tehran’s strategy for defending its interests abroad.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in high seas, including the Gulf of Aden, since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
Also, Sayyari announced in late 2010 that Iran plans to deploy its first home-made destroyer, ‘Jamaran’, in the high seas and international waters as part of the country’s strategy to defend national interests abroad.
“Jamaran destroyer will be deployed in an area 10 degrees north of international waters in the near future,” Sayyari told FNA in October.