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Iran’s Navy May Deploy to Atlantic Ocean, Establish Antarctica Base

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The Debate

Iran’s Navy May Deploy to Atlantic Ocean, Establish Antarctica Base

Plus, Indonesia is hosting a naval exercise, and everyone’s attending. Friday defense links.

Some Friday defense links:

Iran’s state-run media has said that an Iranian naval fleet may deploy to the Atlantic Ocean in the “near future.” In a report focusing on a new deployment in the Gulf of Aden, Iran’s English-language Press TV said in passing that Iran’s Navy “also plans to dispatch its 28th fleet to the Atlantic, Pacific or South Indian oceans in the near future.” Back in 2011, the head of Iran’s Navy raised the possibility that Iran would deploy warships close to America’s Atlantic coast.

Iran’s naval forces regularly deploy to the Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean, and have been making port calls as far away as China, according to a recent report by Christopher Harmer of the Institute for the Study of War.

In other Iranian Navy news, Lieutenant Commander Rear Admiral Gholam Reza Khadem Biqam said it has been looking into setting up permanent bases in Antarctica.

Fars News Agency quoted him as saying:

“Deployment in Antarctic waters is on [the] Islamic Republic of Iran’s agenda, and in the first phase this presence may take place within the framework of cooperation with the countries which have been there, and in the next stage in an independent manner.”

He added, “This move has already been initiated based on the Navy's possibilities and facilities for now.”

Perhaps even more bizarre, Kyodo News reports Indonesia will host a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea next year with all ten member states of ASEAN, as well as Japan, China, the U.S., Russia, Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand participating. The drill will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, assuming they all continue to agree that natural disasters are a bad thing come next year.

Japan scrambled jets after two Russian TU-95 bombers allegedly violated its airspace near the southern island of Kyushu.

Earlier today Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou vowed that his country would continue buying U.S. arms.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has departed for his eight-day trip to Southeast Asia. Kevin Baron of Defense One, who is traveling with Hagel, said he will seek to use the trip to get “new permissions to rotate additional troops, ships and aircraft through the region; call for deeper, regular senior-level relations among regional allies; and push countries to embrace multilateral security.” Baron also reports that aides say Hagel intends to visit Asia at least one more time before year’s end, which would be his third trip to the region since taking over the Pentagon earlier this year.