- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2014

Iran has decided not to send warships to the Atlantic Ocean after all, a dramatic change of heart from a much-ballyhooed announcement weeks ago to send several fighting vessels to the region — the nation’s historical first.

Fars news agency quoted navy chief, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as downplaying the changed plans, calling them routine “considering the situation in the region,” The Associated Press reported. He did not elaborate.

Rear Adm. Sayyari simply said that “when piracy increases in the Gulf of Aden, some changes will be applied in the assignments,” AP reported. He also specified that another Iranian fleet would soon be tasked with a mission in the Atlantic Ocean — but again, he declined to elaborate.

In January, Iran set some military analysts on edge by announcing that its navy had moved two warships into the Atlantic as a show of emerging Iranian power. The government’s media described the ships as the Sabalan destroyer and the Khark logistic helicopter carrier, and said the 30 or so navy academy cadets on board would occupy the region for about three months, AP reported months ago.

Around the same time frame, Iran had also deployed several of its warships to the African coastline to combat pirates near the Gulf of Aden. Sending in warships to the Atlantic was a first — and came on the heels of a 2012 promise by Iranian governing authorities to have warships near America’s coastline within a few short years.