Great: Iranian Warships Call in Jeddah
HotAir.Com: Warships of the Islamic Revolutionary Iranian Navy have never visited a Saudi port until this week. Jeddah is on the Red Sea, where Iranian warships have occasionally ventured since they were first dispatched in late 2008 for anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. Regional reporting has indicated that Iranian patrol ships have made port calls in the Red Sea port of Assab, Eritrea (where other unconfirmed reports have it that Iran has deployed missiles – of unknown type – and a contingent of troops).
But until now, there has been no port call in Saudi Arabia and no hint of one. Indeed, Saudi reporting from November 2009 registered grave concern over Iranian activities in the Red Sea.
The two-ship Iranian task force, consisting of two British-built vessels, Vosper Mark V-class frigate Alvand and supply ship Kharg, left Iran on 26 January, according to Iranian news sources. The next day, a senior naval officer announced that the task force, deployed as the 12th Naval Group, “would enter the Red Sea and the Mediterranean waters.” The prospect of a Mediterranean deployment is as unprecedented as the Saudi port visit. There is no guarantee it will actually happen, but the timing is interesting.