Why Iranian Navy Ships Entering the Atlantic is a Big Deal
Ships of the Iranian Navy have rounded the southern tip of Africa for the first time ever, and they seem to be heading for Venezuela.
WASHINGTON — Two ships of the Iranian Navy have rounded the southern tip of Africa, becoming the first Iranian Navy ships to ever enter the Atlantic Ocean.
This comes just days after Iran's largest navy ship caught fire and sank.
It appears that the two Iranian ships are heading for Venezuela, which would have significant geopolitical ramifications. Here are the details:
The Drive reports that two ships of the Iranian Navy have reportedly rounded South Africa's Cape of Good Hope and appear to be heading into the Atlantic Ocean.
The two ships are the frigate Sahand, and the Makran, a converted tanker that looks like it's designed to be a mobile base.
This latest news comes two days after the Kharg, one of Iran's largest and most important naval ships, sank after suffering a major fire, the causes of which remain unclear.
This would be the first time Iranian naval vessels have operated in the Atlantic and previous reports have indicated that their final destination is in Venezuela, where they might offload a shipment of weapons.
While it is still unclear if the ships are carrying any weapons, satellite imagery suggests the Makran is carrying a number of small, fast-attack boats that Iran has used to harass U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf.
If Iranian Navy vessels gain the ability to operate in the Atlantic, analysts say it would be a significant step forward for Iran, which has tried and failed to do so in the past.
The Pentagon says the delivery of Iranian weapons to Venezuela would be a provocative act and a threat to America's partners in the western hemisphere.
The Pentagon said: "We would reserve the right to take appropriate measures — in concert with our partners — to deter the delivery or transit of such weapons."
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