- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

A flotilla of warships from Iran passed southward across the equator Thursday as part of a voyage from Sri Lanka toward Indonesia that Iranian officials said was designed to show the nation is “active and powerful” in the Indian Ocean.

The Iranian Navy’s 33rd flotilla, comprised of martyr vice-admiral Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship, embarked on the voyage after berthing in early February at Sri Lanka’s port of Colombo, where the ships were “welcomed” by “Sri Lankan navy commanders,” Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency reported.

Fars quoted Col. Ebrahim Rouhani, Iran’s military attache in Sri Lanka, as saying the “Indian Ocean is a stage for the big powers to display the power of their fleets, and the presence of this flotilla shows that we are active and powerful on this stage too.”

Other Iranian officials said the flotilla had engaged in a two-week and roughly 3,000-mile journey from Iranian waters to Sri Lanka. The point of the mission centers on “cadet training,” according to Fars, which said the flotilla is now headed towards Indonesia.

The article did no specify whether the warships will are slated to dock in Indonesia, a close ally to Washington in southeast Asia.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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