Reuters September 27, 2011, 11:29 pm
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran raised the prospect on Tuesday of sending military ships close to the United States’ Atlantic coast, in what would be a major escalation of tensions between the long-standing adversaries.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of the start of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, Sayyari gave no details of when such a deployment could happen or the number or type of vessels to be used. “Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to American marine borders,” Sayyari, the head of the Iranian navy, said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Sayyari said Iran plans to have a large presence in international waters. His speech was given at a ceremony for the 31st anniversary of the country’s 1980-1988 war with Iraq.
The declaration comes just weeks after Turkey said it would host a NATO early warning radar system which will help spot missile threats from outside Europe, including potentially from Iran. The decision has angered Tehran which had enjoyed close relations with Ankara.
And it comes a few months after Iran sent warships through the Suez canal, after the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the first time the Islamic Republic had deployed navy vessels in the Mediterranean.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to stop it getting nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it is developing nuclear arms saying its atomic program is for purely peaceful purposes. Iran has dismissed the threats, warning that it will respond by hitting U.S. interests in the Gulf and Israel if any such attack happened. Iran could close he Strait of Hormuz, where 40% of traded oil passes – get ready for gas lines.
Their route would take them through the Suez and into the Caribbean (a nautical route of 9000 miles). According to MEMRI, Iranian sources claim, “In this new and feasible mission, the ships of the navy of the Iranian Army will sail west, towards the Strait of Gibraltar, after they enter the Mediteranean. Subsequently, they will enter the Atlantic Ocean, and from there they must traverse the long distance to their destination off Cuba, in the Gulf of Mexico and Central and South America.”
They would presumably be armed with long-range cruise missiles. To me, this would be a great opportunity to wipe out their navy.
The Guardian has found errors in the translations of MEMRI and suspects they are not innocently providing accurate translations of ME communications but might be an Israeli front group trying to make the Arabs look bad.
I have no idea if the Guardian is right, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on the reports just yet.