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Hostility on the high seas: Iran sends warships to Atlantic Ocean in historic first

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Iran's state-run media said on Tuesday that its navy has sent warships to the Atlantic Ocean — a historic first for the Islamic Republic.

The navy sent in the Sabalan destroyer and the Khark logistic helicopter carrier, The Associated Press reported. The warships are traveling on a mission that will span three months.

The Iranian media outlet reported that aboard the ships were 30 or navy academy cadets who were taking part in training exercises, as part of the overall military mission, AP said. The specifics of the military mission and the ports of call — if there were any – were not mentioned in the report.

But Iran is trying to bolster its image of a strong naval power, AP said. As part of that effort, the nation's deployed several warships off the coast of Africa in recent months to fight pirates near the Gulf of Aden and to protect ships sailing on commercial reasons.

Sailing warships to the Atlantic is a first, and it comes less than two years after Iran vowed to do just that. In 2012, the nation vowed it would have warships placed in international waters near the coast of the United States within a few years.

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