While many are focused on tensions with North Korea — and enacting sanctions on them to discourage their nuclear arms program — another enemy of the United States has just made a startling move.
According to Newsweek, enemy warships are expected to travel close to the US mainland. Iran, who is seen as a growing threat to the United States, will be sending their warships through the Gulf of Mexico, placing them at a concerning distance to the US.
The announcement came from Iran’s new navy commander, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, at a press conference Wednesday. He stated that a fleet of warships would depart Iran and move through the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico as they travel to several South American countries. Khanzadi said Iran, “will soon go to the Atlantic Ocean, visit some South American countries, and wave the Iranian flag in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The plans come as Iran aspires to establish its military presence on a global scale. “Sailing in open waters between Europe and Americas should be the navy’s goal, which will be realized in the near future,” stated Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, deputy coordinator of the Iranian army. Having a presence in the West is just what Iran wanted.
Khanzadi also stated that the Iranian navy would release new submarines and other vessels next year, including refurbished and renovated ships, among other efforts to strengthen their naval might.
Just last month, the Iranian Armed Forces’ deputy chief of staff made a troubling statement about the US. Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri stated, “The intentions of the US are crystal clear to us. They are trying to weaken our defense resources.”
Previously, Iran made repeated accusations against the US for sponsoring “terrorism” and ISIS. Jazayeri argued that the US “created [ISIS] in order to cause a public phobia of Islam, unleashing it at regional countries as mercenaries in a proxy war,” and made calls for Europe to confront the US for its alleged efforts.
Tensions between the US and Iran have been high for several decades. America’s relations with conservative Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, have helped to limit Iran’s radical influence in the Middle East. President Trump decertified the 2015 Iran nuclear deal established during the Obama administration, which removed sanctions on Iran’s assets in exchange for halting production of nuclear arms. Although Iran alleged compliance, experts suspected Iran was violating the deal.
Iran has fought to be a leading influence in the Middle East. They also strengthened relations in Latin America, where they built dozens of “cultural centers” which have been suspected of supporting the Shiite Muslim campaign, Hezbollah.
A Washington Examiner op-ed suggests Iran’s presence in the Gulf of Mexico is a good thing, as it would allow “immediate and sustained monitoring from the US Navy” which could provide vital details about Iran’s naval operations useful in the event of warfare.
The mullahs of Iran have sought to establish their military capabilities on a global scale. Is Iran’s military a threat to the US?
If Iran’s presence in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico does become a routine occurrence as their military leaders desire, it would indeed offer US forces the opportunity to study the Iranian navy. However, even if Iran’s traveling fleet is small — which some have suspected — it also may provide them the opportunity to obtain intelligence on the US and its forces.
The situation must be heavily monitored in the event Iran uses this seemingly harmless travel as a cover to launch an attack on the US. Considering President Trump’s position on Iran, the US military is likely already on high alert.