Iran is sending its first flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of a helicopter carrier and a destroyer, and passing through the Mediterranean, the Times of Israel Reports.
Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Moussavi declared that the mission will be peaceful, though Iran also wishes to show its capabilities–and to stake a claim as a Mediterranean power, which it has achieved through its virtual control of Syria and Lebanon.
Iran is also planning a naval mission to the Pacific in the weeks ahead.
Other Iranian missions on the high seas have had the aim of stopping piracy against its ships in the Horn of Africa–and doing so without the help of U.S. Navy ships, which are the preeminent power in the area and provide much of the force behind anti-piracy efforts.
In the recent past, Iran’s navy has threatened to end the passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran first announced its Atlantic missions in 2011. At the time, Breitbart News observed that the Iranian navy was ill-equipped for long oceanic voyages, but that it could use its limited naval force in suicide missions or to harass U.S. Navy forces in the closer confines of the Persian Gulf. The Iranian navy suffered heavy losses in 1988 in Operation Praying Mantis, when the U.S. retaliated for the mining of the Persian Gulf waters.