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


  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.


    Follow Michael Rubin on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5851
    Email: mrubin@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Ahmad Majidyar
    Phone: 202-862-5845
    Email: ahmad.majidyar@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image The Census Bureau and Obamacare: Dumb decision? Yes. Conspiracy? No.
image A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
image Give the CBO long-range tools
image The coming collapse of India's communists
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.