Tehran (diplomat.so) - Iran has declared the deployment of naval warships with a "multi-dimensional mission" in international waters, raising concerns amidst escalating tensions in the Red Sea. The move comes in the wake of recent Houthi attacks on ships in the region and corresponding US strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen.
Iranian Navy Commander Shahram Irani, in a statement on Friday, revealed that four combat fleets are currently undertaking missions simultaneously in international waters. He commended the Navy's past successes, highlighting the seizure of an American oil tanker that violated regulations in the Sea of Oman.
The deployed fleet, featuring warships such as Bushehr and Tunb, set sail from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to the Tasnim News Agency. Additionally, the Iranian Air Force conducted air defense exercises, successfully testing a new low-altitude missile system (9-D) developed by the Revolutionary Guard, capable of intercepting targets at low altitudes.
Earlier this month, the Iranian destroyer "Alborz," serving as the command ship of the 94th Fleet Group of the Army Navy, approached the southern Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait, accompanied by the Bushehr logistics ship. The Iranian floating naval base, Behshad, is stationed in the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait.
The region has experienced heightened tensions since the outbreak of the Israeli war in Gaza on October 7, 2023. Concerns persist that the conflict could escalate into a wider regional or even international crisis.
Since November 19, 2023, the Iranian-backed Houthi group has launched numerous drone and missile attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, a crucial and globally significant shipping lane. These attacks have resulted in a slowdown in trade between Asia and Europe, raising concerns among major global powers.
On December 18, 2023, the United States announced the formation of a multinational naval military alliance named "Guardian of Prosperity." The coalition aims to counter any attacks threatening the safety of international maritime navigation, emphasizing its reluctance to escalate tensions with Tehran. The alliance has already conducted multiple strikes on Houthi military sites in Sanaa, Hodeidah, Taiz, Hajjah, and Saada. The situation remains fluid, with the international community closely monitoring developments in the region.