In an apparent warning to the United States, Tehran is reportedly planning to send an Iranian naval fleet to the Panama Canal to demonstrate the Islamic republic’s growing military might and maritime reach.
“Iranian Navy units are approaching the shores of America,” Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, commander of the Iranian Navy, told a maritime civilization conference in Tehran on Wednesday, according to a local news agency report.
The navy commander said Iranian naval forces had already been deployed in all but two of the world’s strategic straits.
“Iranian naval forces will sail in one of those two remaining straits this year while plans are being made for the presence of Iranian naval forces in the Panama Canal,” he added.
Moreover, Irani remarked, “the equipment to be absorbed into the Navy in the future is in keeping with the tasks of these three commands,” revealing that there are now separate commands in charge of operations in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans within the Iranian Navy.
“The country’s military forces are prepared to deal strongly with any external threat,” Irani said, adding: “If the enemies threaten the security of the country, the Iranian military will respond harshly to their malicious acts. According to a report by the state-run Fars news agency, warned Rear Admiral Irani.
“Our maritime interests and resources are extensive, and our Navy is present wherever it perceives danger. Due to the Iranian Navy’s dominance and constant monitoring at sea, no nation has dared to enter Iranian territorial waters, “the commanding officer declared.
Referring to the Iranian Navy’s mission to navigate the Pacific Ocean, the commander said Australia and France threatened Iranian ships. Despite the threats, the Iranian Navy stood firm and responded to them in accordance with the law, he said.
The Australian Department of Defense said on January 2 that it had tracked two Iranian warships as they went through the South Pacific in November.
The media reported that the two Iranian warships, which included a frigate and a converted tanker, docked in Jakarta before heading to the Pacific, adding that the ships did not enter Australia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The New Zealand Defense Forces also reported monitoring the movement of Iranian warships in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, on December 25, France’s Pacific Command revealed that it had established contact with the Iranian ships after they declared their intention to pass just below the remote Marquesas Islands.
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, met with navy commanders in November 2022 and emphasized the importance of the Iranian Navy’s continued participation in international waters and improved combat capability.