Iran Submarines Dispatched to Red Sea: Report

An Iranian Kilo-class submarine of Russian origin.

Iran’s navy has sent submarines to the Red Sea “to collect data,” its first mission in distant waters, the Fars news agency reported June 7 without giving further details.

“The submarines, dispatched in May, have entered the Red Sea after a mission in the Gulf of Aden to collect data on the sea bed in the high seas and to identify other warships,” Fars said quoting an unnamed source.

“They are accompanying an Iranian navy fleet,” it added, without mentioning the number of the submarines, their types or the make of the fleet. Iran has several types of submarines, including the home-produced 500-tonne Nahang which was first introduced to the navy in 2006, as well as three Russian-made submarines of the Kilo class purchased in the 1990s.

In August 2010, Iran’s army chief Ataollah Salehi announced the inauguration of a new “semi-heavy” submarine, named Qaem, capable of operating in the high seas, such as the Indian Ocean or the Gulf of Aden.

Iran’s navy operates 11 mini submarines of the domestically built 120-ton Ghadir class, first launched in 2007, which according to Iranian officials are “stealth” submarines and patrol shallow waters, notably the Gulf.

Last February, two Iranian warships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea for a visit to Syria, crossing the Red Sea and Suez Canal, a move that angered Israel.

The two ships docked in Syria on February 24, marking Iran’s first such mission since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Tel Aviv put its navy on alert, following the entry of the Iranian vessels in the Mediterranean, while Israeli President Shimon Peres described the move as a “political provocation.”