Iran Launches First Atlantic Naval Mission

The Iranian navy frigate IS Alvand
The Iranian navy frigate IS Alvand / AP

Two Iranian warships embarked on the country's first naval mission in the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Iran has been campaigning for years "to demonstrate the ability to project power in the Middle East."

The Associated Press reports:

"The warships will have task of securing shipping routes as well as training new personnel," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Iran's navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying. […]

Iran has regularly deployed warships to the Gulf of Aden off the eastern coast of Africa to fight piracy and protect commercial ships.

The recent Iranian naval surge is also a response to U.S. naval deployment near the Islamic Republic's coasts in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain — across the gulf from Iran.

The Islamic Republic announced plans in 2012 to send its own ships to the U.S. coast among other regions of the globe. It also hoped to "extend its reach as far as Antarctica."