US in State of 'Strategic Bewilderment' Over Iran's Atlantic Naval Deployment, Army Chief Says
12:22 GMT 12.09.2021 (Updated: 12:31 GMT 12.09.2021)
A pair of Iranian Navy warships recently completed a 45,000 km trip which took them across three oceans and past 55 countries. The journey sparked fears in the US that the ships may have been delivering arms Venezuela, and even led to discussions in US media about whether there was anything Washington could do to legally stop them.
Iranian Army commander Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi has praised the country’s naval forces over the recent completion of the 75th Flotilla’s trans-continental journey, saying the trip had put Iran’s American adversary into a state of “strategic bewilderment”.
“This strategic deployment has caused strategic bewilderment and confusion among the navy of global arrogance led by the American terrorists,” Mousavi said
, speaking at an address Sunday dedicated to the flotilla’s safe return to its home port.
According to the commander, Iran’s deployment in the Atlantic, “in the vicinity of arrogant countries,” has left the latter in a state of “passiveness,” with the Islamic Republic’s Navy demonstrating that “no obstacle can stop the will of this nation to rise in the seas”.
Mousavi thanked the officers and seamen who made “this historic turning point” in Iran’s maritime history possible, as well as their loved ones, and suggested that the deployment will be remembered for hundreds and even thousands of years in the Islamic Republic’s quest to become a “maritime civilisation”.
Iran’s Sahand destroyer and the Makran forward base and support vessel completed a 133-day, cross-oceanic, cross-continental voyage last week, arriving back to their home port on Tuesday. The trek saw the warships sailing from Bandar Abbas in May, travelling southward through the Indian Ocean, past the Cape of Good Hope and into the South Atlantic. From there the ships travelled northward, with US officials and media picking up on the trip and expressing fears that the flotilla may be carrying vessels or emergency material assistance to Venezuela in a mission to bust Washington’s crushing sanctions against the Latin American nation. Instead, the ships continued to travel northward, into the English Channel and on to the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg, Russia. There, the Sahand took part in a grand parade dedicated to the anniversary of Russia’s Navy in July. The 75th Flotilla then began the long journey back to Iran, completing the trip on 7 September.
The flotilla’s deployment was the first of its kind for the Iranian Navy, whose past long-range journeys have been largely limited to operations in the Persian Gulf, the northern Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
11 September 2021, 14:33 GMT
The trip was made possible thanks to fuel and supply-carrying capabilities the Makran – a new class of mobile forward base built from a converted oil tanker and commissioned in 2020. The vessel is theoretically capable of providing supply support, weapons or even troops to far-off conflict zones. The 230 metre-long, 111,000+ tonne vessel’s defences include rocket-launching speedboats and submersibles, drones, helicopters, and long-range cruise missiles, and it can carry virtually any ground-based system designed for the country’s army, coastal defence or air defence forces on its deck. The Makran was accompanied on the trip by the Sahand, a 95 metre-long Moudge-class destroyer with a 2,500 tonne displacement, a complement of 140 officers and seamen, and a range of advanced radar, electronic warfare and weapons systems.
The 75th flotilla’s ultra-long trip put Iran into a shortlist of nations with the capability to independently deploy naval forces across the globe, with just a handful of other countries, including the United States, Russia, China, India and a few European states capable of similar deployments.