Some reports indicate that the Iranian Navy sails to support US-for Nicolas Maduro and its ships are now in transit in the Atlantic Ocean. The ships included in the force sent to support the Venezuelan leader are the Iranian destroyer Sahand and support vessel Makran, which is used to gather maritime intelligence. These two ships left the port of Bandar Abbas located on the southern coast of Iran.
Significance of this voyage
The voyage began last Thursday and is one of the crucial missions for an Iranian Flotilla, as said on Iran's State TV, reported The Sun. Released footage of the warship during their Atlantic crossing showed the Sahand crashing against the waves of the ocean. Looking at the video taken, it is assumed the Makran shot the footage, noted AP. A modified commercial oil tanker equipped with a mobile helicopter launch platform functioned as the support vessel.
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Iran's Deputy Army Chief, remarked the ships' mission is one of the most arduous that the Iranian Navy has experienced. It is also the longest and most challenging voyage yet. Sayyari said, "The Navy is enhancing its seafaring capabilities and showing its long-term endurance in unfavorable seas and severe weather conditions in the Atlantic."
Both vessels will be moving forward non-stop and will bypass any port on the mission, he added. No exact destination was given by authorities or when the voyage will end, but some US media stated that the Iranian Navy sailed to support US-foe Nicolas Maduro and are on a straight path to Venezuela.
Planet Labs Inc. satellite images suggest that the boats left Bandar Abbas harbor on April 29. Where ships currently are is unknown.
Iran has kept close ties with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, sending gasoline as well as other products to the country throughout the midst of US sanctions, which targeted the country's gas shortages. One of the top aides of the Venezuelan leader anonymously said that the ship will be heading to Venezuelan ports, as speculated.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, similarly refused to disclose where Makran was sailing to, but defended their actions. "Iran has always been present in international waters, it has this right based on international agreements, and it can be present in international waters," the spokesman stated during a news conference last May 31, mentioned News Logistics. His remarks cautioned that nobody should criticize Iran's actions.
A photo that surfaced showed seven fast attack boats, which were positioned on one of the decks of the Makran. Questions were asked why they were on board the vessels. These watercraft is of the type being used by the Guard in its engagements with US warships within the Persian Gulf as well as the Strait of Hormuz. It was not clear what Venezuela's plans would be for the ships.
The use of the boats is part of the asymmetrical warfare force within Venezuela's armed forces, mentioned the U.S. Naval Institute. The Iranian Navy sails to support US-foe Nicolas Maduro is sure but no details about their purpose have been given by the countries involved.