February 9, 2014
WAR: Is Iran preparing to attack the US?
February 9, 2014
The AP reports, on Saturday, a senior Iranian navel commander said Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to the U.S. maritime borders for the first time.
The commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said the vessels have already entered the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The fleet, consisting of a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship, began its voyage last month from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. The ships, carrying some 30 navy academy cadets for training along with their regular crews, are on a three-month mission.
IRNA quoted Haddad as saying the fleet is approaching U.S. maritime borders for the first time. The Islamic Republic considers the move as a response to U.S. naval deployments near its own coastlines. The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain, just across the Persian Gulf.
According to an article posted on The Times of Israel, Iranian state TV on Friday ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran's drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a hypothetical retaliation for an Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic.
Iranian drones and missiles are also shown carrying out simulated strikes on the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, downing American aircraft and striking American military targets in the Persian Gulf.
A defense official in Washington was quoted by Reuters as casting doubt on any claims that the Iranian ships were approaching U.S. maritime borders. But the official added that "ships are free to operate in international waters."
The United States and its allies regularly stage navel exercises in the Gulf, saying they want to ensure freedom of navigation in the waterway through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports passes.