In rare move, Iran sends warships on lengthy Atlantic voyage

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has dispatched two warships to the Atlantic Ocean, a rare mission to demonstrate the country’s maritime power, state TV reported Thursday, without specifying the vessels’ final destination.

The new domestically built destroyer Sahand and intelligence-gathering vessel Makran, a converted tanker with a mobile launch platform for helicopters, are sailing across the Atlantic after leaving Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas on May 10, according to Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, deputy army chief.

The ships, now in the North Atlantic, already have undertaken the Iranian navy’s longest and most challenging voyage and will continue on their path, Sayyari said, without elaborating on the route.

Iranian state TV released a short video clip of the destroyer cruising through the Atlantic’s rough seas.

“The Navy is improving its seafaring capacity and proving its long-term durability in unfavorable seas and the Atlantic’s unfavorable weather conditions,” Sayyari said, adding that the warships would not call at any country’s port during the mission.

Earlier this month, fires sank Iran’s largest warship, the 207-meter (679-foot) Kharg, which was used to resupply other ships in the fleet at sea and conduct training exercises. Officials offered no cause for the blaze, which follows a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting commercial ships in Mideast waterways.