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‘Mission accomplished’: Iran welcomes back flotilla from Atlantic voyage

Iran’s Navy chief Rear Admiral Shahram Irani says the 75th naval group has managed to “powerfully” accomplish its mission, stressing that the country’s naval forces will uphold their international presence “with more lofty goals.”

Speaking to Press TV on Sunday, he said that the flotilla, comprising Iranian destroyer Sahand and support vessel Makran, did not stop during its mission and returned home safely, thanks to the “resistance” and “self-reliance” of the Iranian naval personnel.

To the dismay of the US and other countries which had predicted Iran was unable to fulfill the mission, “the mission was thoroughly accomplished,” Admiral Irani said. 

“The US does not have a proper understanding of Iran and they do not know our capabilities. They just read some reports. Anybody, who is wise enough, knows how things play out. This mission was accomplished powerfully, and we will continue our presence with more might and power and with more lofty goals,” he added.

Irani made the remarks on the sidelines of a welcoming ceremony in Bandar Abbas port for the 75th naval group, which set sail for the Indian Ocean as well as the South and North Atlantic Oceans on May 2.

Officials have said the voyage was aimed at promoting maritime authority, securing maritime routes and strengthening maritime diplomacy, carrying the message of peace and friendship of the great Iranian nation.

After 133 days of navigating in the high seas and oceans, the naval fleet reached the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic earlier this week and was welcomed by two combat vessels and two fighter jets.

“We crossed three oceans across the world. We had planned in advance and prepared for that,” the commander said. “We want to upgrade our capability and show it” further to the world, he added. 

According to Admiral Irani, the Sahand destroyer which is completely built by Iranian experts made its trailblazing voyage by sailing 45,000 kilometers and crossing two hemispheres in four seasons.

Iranian naval forces “showed their capabilities and demonstrated their skills. What is important is that they didn’t stop during the mission and did not need logistical support. They went all the way to their destinations and came back.”

Aَdmiral Irani said while technical problems of motorized systems are an inevitable fact, the capabilities of the Iranian naval group “were so high that we didn’t need any assistance from ports in other countries.”

“Whatever problem came up, our own men solved them right at the sea and the flotilla pressed ahead with its journey,” he said, adding the only port call was to St Petersburg on Russia’s invitation to attend the anniversary of the establishment of the country’s navy.

Chief Commander of Iran’s Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi also said the historic naval mission took place in the worst climatic conditions and at the height of sanctions amid a heavy psycho-political warfare being waged against Iran.

“The strategic mission in the Atlantic Ocean and high seas, which are the backyard of the world arrogance and the US, led to their despair and passivity,” he said. “We now confidently declare that maximum sanctions have hardened us for greater and more lofty goals.”

On Saturday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei  congratulated “the mighty and honorable return” of the 75th naval group from “the grave mission of navigating in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in the history of the country’s seafaring.”

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