Iran Deploys Submarine to India & Sri Lanka
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Iran Deploys Submarine to India & Sri Lanka


A submarine-escorted naval fleet set sailed from southern Iran for Mumbai and Colombo on Wednesday.

As if Asia’s waters weren’t crowded enough with subsurface vessels, Iran has deployed one of its heavy submarines to South Asian waters as part of a larger naval fleet, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, which has close ties with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

On Wednesday afternoon, Fars quoted Admiral Siyavash Jarreh, the Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations, as saying, “The (Iranian) Navy will dispatch the ultra-heavy Tareq-class submarine, ‘Younus’ as part of the Navy’s 28th flotilla of warships to the countries of East Asia.”

The report said that the 28th flotilla left a southern port in Iran hours after Jarreh made the announcement. Fars also reported that Admiral Jarreh had said Iran’s Alborz destroyer and Bandar Abbas helicopter-carrier warship would be accompanying the Younus submarine on the voyage.

Despite Jarreh’s claims that the 28th flotilla was headed to East Asia, the Fars report quoted him as saying, “The Navy’s 28th Flotilla will berth at Mumbai and Colombo ports during its voyage.” In other words, the 28th flotilla seems to be headed to South Asia — India and Sri Lanka in particular.

The purpose of the voyage is unclear, although Fars referred to it as a “crucially important extraterritorial mission of the Iranian Navy.”

Tasnim News Agency, which was established last year to report on the Arab Spring, also carried a report on Jarreh’s comments. It quoted Jarreh as saying that the flotilla’s mission is to make its “mighty and constant” presence felt in international waters. Jarreh apparently added that the flotilla would also “convey the message of peace and friendship” along the way.

The Iranian Navy seems to keep a flotilla constantly deployed, although most of them do not venture farther than the Gulf of Aden and Mediterranean Sea. Still, the trip itself is not unprecedented for Iran’s navy. Indeed, according to Indian news reports, the Bandar Abbas itself made a port call in India back in 2006. Iran’s regular naval forces, rather than the IRGC Navy, are in charge of these longer deployments, which have included port calls in China and Russia.

The more frequent deployments around the Gulf of Aden do not usually have a submarine escort, at least one that is usually announced. However, the inclusion of the Tareq-class submarine on this mission could very well just be due to the fact that it has little other purpose. Iran has three such Tareq-class submarines, which are really 877EKM Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines that Iran purchased from Russia in the late 1980s and 1990s. Although it reportedly paid about US$600 million for each of them, they are uniquely unsuited to Iran’s maritime environment. Specifically, the Persian Gulf’s shallow depth means the heavy submarines cannot operate in most of it.

The three heavy submarines have long been based in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port and are operated by Iran’s regular Navy. Some reports have suggested that Iran is building port facilities for them at its Chabahar Port, which is located in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Oman. Voyages east to the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean are thus some of the only occasions in which the Tareq-class submarines can be utilized.

The naval fleet’s voyage to South Asia comes as the P5+1 and Iran are holding another round of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. This week also saw Iran claim to launch a new strategic drone.

Jitamber Singh Bedi
November 30, 2013 at 06:27

Good for the Iranians………as the third regional power (after India and Pakistan) Iran has every right to deploy her Navy anywhere in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean in general.
Its best that Western Navies refrain from converting this maritime zone into their personal lake.

November 30, 2013 at 18:50

I hope these subs are armed with Iran’s recently developed supercavitating high-speed torpedoes. They can be handy in a naval shootout against naval vessels from the US / NATO crime syndicate.

November 25, 2013 at 21:43

This article is poorly researched. Kilo submarines are designed for littoral operations, the Persian Gulf is the perfect environment for them, Iran may call them ‘Ultra-Heavy’ submarines, but they are actually quite small.

November 23, 2013 at 21:59

“Good for Iran, American are patrolling in the Gulf sea from thousands of why not Iran doing same thing to its area.”

Some people in the U.S. also want to prevent China’s subs from patrolling the south china sea. This is insane policy that will guarantee war.

November 30, 2013 at 18:22

Then let the war come. The sooner the better! The US rules the oceans of the earth including the SCS. There can be no negotiation or compromise on this.

November 23, 2013 at 13:39

Good for Iran, American are patrolling in the Gulf sea from thousands of why not Iran doing same thing to its area.

November 23, 2013 at 09:04

@JTW, the body of water you are reffering to is called the Persian Gulf. It has been called Persian Gulf for many years and will be called Persian Gulf for years to come.

November 23, 2013 at 06:18

@ JTW , Just so you know the correct name is Persian Gulf not the A@#$ Gulf.

November 23, 2013 at 06:06

This will put paid to the anti-muslim movement by monks in the Indian ocean island!

November 23, 2013 at 02:43

great news well done IRAN.

IRAN has all the rights which other countries have.

love to iran

November 23, 2013 at 00:43

Cool sub

November 22, 2013 at 16:22

They might be testing it. This is the only one they refurbished according to their news site, so let’s see if it works in deep waters, is probably the thinking here. Same thing when they sailed to China.

November 22, 2013 at 10:55

“They might be hoovering around Diego Garcia US military base.”

I think you’re right. They are targeted at Diego Garcia.

November 22, 2013 at 10:02

This puts India in a difficult position. Iran is a top trading partner of India, still. So India cannot deny the Iranians. But accepting Iranians strains relations with USA. They might be hoovering around Diego Garcia US military base.

November 22, 2013 at 06:57

Kilos are hardly heavies, and are in fact designed for shallow water operations.
If they’re not suitable for the Arabian Gulf, that’s not so much because of the depth as because of the shape of the area and its bottom contours, which make the typical submarine hide and seek game impractical there.
To international experts they were always considered to be aimed at tanker traffic in the Gulf of Aden and beyond, a place where the speedboats of the Iranian revolutionary guard (the usual weapon they used against tankers during the tanker wars) can’t operate.

Little Helmsman
November 22, 2013 at 05:52

If were the Mullahs I would worry about the increasingly restive populations that is getting annoyed with the religious nuts running the country. Remember the Green revolution? Not that long ago and they will not go away!!

November 22, 2013 at 02:21

Good for you Iran. The seas are not the exclusive domain of western powers. TIf the seas are crowded it is due mainly to the presence of western navies. Western navies should go back to theor own waters.

Sheakar aram
November 22, 2013 at 01:54

More Muslims coming? Gheee..I will put a welcome mat.

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