Iran’s Navy Deploys to Atlantic Ocean
Image Credit: wikimedia commons

Iran’s Navy Deploys to Atlantic Ocean


Iran’s Navy began its first deployment to the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, according to reports in local press.

The semi-official Fars News Agency, which is seen as close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported on Tuesday that Iran has sent a navy flotilla consisting of the Khark helicopter-carrier and Sabalan destroyer to the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. The report said they would travel some 23,000 nautical miles over the next three months.

The Navy held a ceremony to celebrate the ships’ departure, which was attended by the commander of Iran’s Navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, as well as his deputy, Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi.

Iran has long discussed deploying naval assets to the Atlantic Ocean. As far back as 2011, Sayyari had threatened to deploy warships off the Atlantic Coast of the United States.

“Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to American marine borders,” Sayyari was quoted as saying at the time.

As The Diplomat previously reported, Iranian media outlets noted in August 2013 reports that Iran’s Navy “also plans to dispatch its 28th fleet to the Atlantic, Pacific or South Indian oceans in the near future.”

Iranian media have previously reported the Khark helicopter-carrier and Sabalan destroyer as making up the 27th fleet.

According to the Fars report this week, Sayyari said back in November: “The Navy’s next flotilla will be dispatched to either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic on January 21-Feb 20.”

Fars also quoted an Iranian naval official in December as saying: “The previous flotillas of warships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea and passed the Suez Channel and even sailed through the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea. Now we intend to enter the Atlantic Ocean and this will be materialized after dispatch of the next flotillas of warships.”

In that December article, Sayyari was noted as saying that the deployments to the Atlantic Ocean would be in order to protect Iranian oil tankers and cargo ships from pirates.

Iran’s Navy has increased the range of its deployments in recent years, making port calls as far away as China and India. It has also participated extensively in the United Nations’ anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Still, at present Iran is not able to project significant power beyond its immediate waters, where Iran’s naval assets are mostly commanded by the IRGC rather than the regular Iranian Navy, which is tasked with the longer range deployments.

February 9, 2014 at 09:41

I’m not sure who wrote this article but Iran doesn’t have destroyer class naval vessels…I believe the boat in question is a frigate.

January 23, 2014 at 07:56

TV & Internet “Journalists” need to do proper research, like opening a damn book. If they did, they would discover that the ‘Sabalan’ is 1) at only 1540 tons, is a frigate, not a destroyer, 2) is 42 years old, and 3) has no surface-air missiles. It is by today’s standards a glorified patrol boat. They would also discover that the ‘Kharg’ is 1) a replenishment oiler, not a helicopter-carrier (besides those used for ferrying supplies), 2) is 34 years old, and 3) is considered the flagship of the Iranian Navy. What does it say about a nation’s navy as a whole when its flagship is a 34-year old supply ship? Know what the hell you are talking about before writing an article.

January 23, 2014 at 21:39

That’s the general idea. Everyone knows Sabalan is a rust bucket and the Iranian navy is not a proper blue water navy. They’re not going to send over any of their newer frigates (like their flagship Jamaran or Damavand etc.). Those are required for defending Iran’s littoral waters. This latest move is just a publicity stunt. However, on a historical note please bear in mind the fact that Sabalan was heavily damaged yet survived the US navy during operation Praying Mantis 1988. Now it’s on its way to the Atlantic. Not a scary sight I agree but still quite efficient from a propaganda perspective.

January 24, 2014 at 01:21

That’s because we let the Sabalan “survive”. Those in charge decided, as Chamberlains always do, to appease, to not further escalate the hostilities, and let the ship be towed back into port. As opposed to her sister ship, which was not so lucky.

January 24, 2014 at 10:15

the sabalan as you’ve correctly ascertained is indeed a frigate , to be exact its a copy of a vospers and thornycroft model my dad served on known as a type 21 :) not good at all two were lost in the falklands war due to inadequate air defence ………. and this is the best iran can do :/ they’re in trouble eh friend

Michael Greenwald
January 27, 2014 at 17:08

Oh William, don’t spoil the fun! The US has been in the hurt locker for quite some time with a shocking lack of enemies upon whom to spend billions for defense. Be kind. You have to overlook things. What will the weapons makers do without enemies? Russia? Bah! The Taliban don’t have a navy. China? To busy off those islands. So, please, go easy on the details and just let the US fluff up these old rust buckets.

January 22, 2014 at 22:27

This is a good first step for Iran.

January 22, 2014 at 15:37

Who cares…

January 22, 2014 at 12:27

They don’t carry nukes = they are useless.

January 22, 2014 at 07:57

I’m pretty sure no one in the US is losing sleep over this.

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