Iran’s new naval commander vowed to send a warship to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a move that could raise concerns in Washington.
Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said he plans to deploy vessels to areas outside the Middle East, and that the warships will visit Latin America, NBC News reported Thursday.
Iran’s military plans to “wave the flag of our country in the Gulf of Mexico,” Khanzadi said.
“Our fleet of warships will be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the near future and will visit one of the friendly states in South America and the Gulf of Mexico,” he said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
“The appearance of our vessels in the Mediterranean and Suez Canal shocked the world and the U.S. also made comments on it,” the Iranian commander added.
Plans to send ships close to the United States are not new.
In 2014, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said Tehran would send ships close to U.S. maritime borders as a response to U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf.
Sayyari then canceled the plans, and tensions eased after the United States and Iran reached a nuclear deal in 2015.
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the deal, and has described Iran as a “murderous regime.”
By Elizabeth Shim