Iranian warships coming to Mediterranean and Red Seas

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2011,

Less than 24 hours after the breakdown of its nuclear dialogue with the six world powers in Istanbul, Iran announced plans Sunday, Jan. 23, to senda fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, on operational and intelligence-gathering missions to the Red Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. debkafile’s military sources: Parts of the fleet will in fact be deployed in the three waters around Israel’s southern and western shores.

Tehran is taking advantage of the lack of military and diplomatic momentum on the part of US and Israel for a naval thrust to expand its range of operations and encroach on their areas of control.

It is also a rapid response to the arrival of the USS Enterprise carrier with a strike group carrying 6,000 sailors and marines and 80 warplanes in the Mediterranean at the end of last week on its way to the Arabian Sea opposite Iran. British ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call on the West to stop apologizing and react to Iran with force was not lost on the rulers of the Islamic Republic.

The Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari spoke of three or four vessels including Iran’s first home-made destroyer, Jamaran, with back-up operational units standing by for urgent support missions.

His deputy, Rear-Admiral Gholam Reza Bi-Gham said the deployment would last about a year and at some future time, long-distance submarines would join the fleet.

Since Nov. 2008, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols between the Gulf of Aden Straits of Bab al-Mandeb off Yemen so some of its units are not far away.

Both admirals reported that a flotilla of Iranian naval officer cadets would soon be dispatched to the Mediterranean and Red Seas to gain experience in these new areas and gather intelligence.
Iran recently purchased three Kilo class submarines from Russia and is using them in the Persian Gulf. debkafile’s military sources report they belong to a bygone generation of subs and lack advanced electronic systems, making it hard for them to stay deep down underwater for long periods without surfacing.

For two years, Iranian military shipyards have been building miniature submarines, war ships and fast assault craft. Most Western naval give them low ratings in performance especially in view of their outdated electronics.

debkafile’s military sources, however, estimate that if deployed in support of the warships assigned to the Mediterranean and Red Seas, those mini-submarines and assault craft could be extremely troublesome and give plenty of headaches to American, Israel and Egyptian naval commanders.

January 23, 2011 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. Accidents happen, wouldn’t it be a pity if they lost a few ships in this
    provacative adventure to flex their Muslim muscle as if to frighten Israel.
    Striking a blow so close to home is far better than risking our boys in Hell.

  2. The Iranians and Turks may be interested on the newfound Israeli off shore natural gas and oil fields benifiting GREEK Cyprus as well. Yesterday Israel released a terse little note for the record regarding the fields. They both may find their adventure far more difficult than they ever expected. Otherwise the Iranian navy chaps may be itching enough and decided to remedy that by taking a long needed bath. The problem is that the water polution that will result from that may affect desalinization plants.
    Noow seriously…
    The Turks have a credible military and I prefer not having to battle them.

  3. Hi, Arnold

    My comments usually surface — sometimes a few days later, after a human such as Ted finds them in the bottom of the spambot. If you want a sneak preview, I said that by exposing their ships to such danger in case of a conflict, the Iranisans are showing that they’re confident the Israelis have no intention of fighting any sort of war within the next twelve months. It’s a little like the “French duel” spoken of by Mark Twain in “Tramp Abroad”.

  4. All this is why ha-Shem invented electronic signal jamming systems, along with torpedoes and ship-to-ship missiles, if push comes to shove.

    (BO, try writing your comment in MS Word or equivalent. Then copy it to the reply box before fingering the post button. If you post it twice in a row, and you get a message saying you already posted that comment, it means the Israpundit software is holding it up. But unless you wrote something totally idiotic, your comment most likely will show up later.)

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  5. I like this news. It means that when HAMAS or Hizbullah decide to provoke a war with Israel, the Iranians have two choices: (1) Turn tail and run with their ships, or (2) Stay put, watch them sink, and be shown to be ineffective fools. The Iranians have really stuck their neck out this time. It makes me think they know Israel will not start a war within the next year. Do the Israelis know that?

    Mention was made in the article, about Iran’s anti-piracy activities. The made me think a bit, and realize that the navies of many of the world’s countries are currently gathered very close to Israel and Iran — including the South Koreans, who this past week did in a bunch of Somali pirates in a well-executed operation. The French are certainly in the thick of it, and the Gazans have this past week made themselves a stench in French nostrils by abusing the femme French Ambassador. Abusing an ambassador is one thing; but abusing a French woman is a matter of national honor. If the moslems want to provoke a fight with the French, Msr. Sarkozy might be well disposed to oblige them.

    It’s an interesting situation.