Iranian Navy enters Pacific

Reuters

An Iranian naval ship travels through the Suez Canal near Ismailia, some 120 km (75 miles) north of Cairo February 22, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • An Iranian warship’s passage through the Suez Canal has reinforced the fact that the Iranian Navy has expanded its operational reach.

    Tweet This

  • The Iranian flotilla, comprising a destroyer and a helicopter carrier, may symbolically demonstrate Iran’s naval resurgence

    Tweet This

Both an Iranian warship’s passage through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean on 22 February 2011 and Iranian warships paying port calls in the Sudan a year later have reinforced the fact that the Iranian Navy has expanded its operational reach. The push into the Pacific comes less than three months after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that the Iranian Navy’s new emphasis should be expanding its reach beyond the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian flotilla, comprising a destroyer and a helicopter carrier, may symbolically demonstrate Iran’s naval resurgence, but logistical constraints—fueling and resupply—should keep the Iranian vessels close to shore. As such, however, Tehran’s dispatch of its navy into the Pacific might be considered a diplomatic shot across the bow. Beyond pulling into Zhangjiagang, a port just north of Shanghai, the flotilla is also expected to pay a port call in Sri Lanka on its way home.

Whether or not the Iranian vessels are resupplied at sea might shed light on Iran’s logistical capabilities, and where else Iranian military vessels pull into port—perhaps in Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar)—might also shed light on Iranian efforts to develop military ties with Asia. The implication of any Iranian military vessels continuing on to North Korea is alarming. While Tehran and Pyongyang cooperate commercially and, according to Western press reports, in the covert exchange of nuclear technology as well, overt military cooperation would suggest confidence and augmentation of ties which might challenge the West.

As a side note, Sayyari is wrong to suggest that an Iranian navy has never passed the Strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. During the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century, Muslim pirates consisting of both Arabs and Persians (the Chinese at the time seldom differentiated) burned Canton (modern Guangzhou) to the ground, a fact about which Persian nationalists might remember, but Iranian authorities most likely will not trumpet during this voyage.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.