Ships from the Iranian army’s naval fleet are headed towards the United States maritime borders as part of a longstanding protest against US vessels in the Persian Gulf, Fars News Agency reports.
“The Iranian Army’s naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,” Commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, announced on Saturday.
The admiral, who also heads up the Iranian Army’s 4th Naval Zone, added that the ships are approaching the United States’ maritime borders, “and this move has a message.”
The agency gave no details on the number or types of vessels deployed.
Sayyari first announced Iran would begin a naval buildup “near maritime borders of the United States” in September 2011. The move is part of Iran’s response to Washington’s sizeable naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The US Navy’s 5th fleet, which is responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean, is based in Bahrain.
“Like the arrogant powers that are present near our maritime borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders,” Sayyari said at the time.
Sayyari reiterated Iran’s plans to dispatch its naval forces to deploy along US marine borders in the Atlantic in September 2012, saying this would happen “in the next few years”.
In September 2012 the admiral reiterated Iran’s plans for sailing off the US coasts to counter the US presence in its waters in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian Navy has been boosting its presence in international waters since November 2008, when it deployed warships to the Gulf of Aden in response to the Somalia pirates’ threat.