Iran Navy to expand international presence: Cmdr.
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the country's naval forces will expand their international presence to safeguard the Islamic Republic's interests and rights, Press TV reported.
"Today the presence of Iran's Navy extends from the Persian Gulf to the north of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb," Sayyari said on Monday.
Sayyari added that Iran's Navy would establish presence anywhere on the international waters in order to safeguard the Islamic Republic's interests.
"Over the past four years and since the mission to protect Iran's commercial vessels and oil tankers in international waters began, not a day has gone by without the [Iranian] Navy being present in this region," the Iranian commander added.
Sayyari said Iran's Navy has escorted more than 1,500 commercial ships and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden and north of the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea.
Iran's Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ali Akbar Marzban said on May 18 that the Iranian Navy had conducted at least 85 anti-piracy missions in international waters over the past three years.
Iran's Navy has been multiplying its naval presence in the international waters since last year, deploying vessels to the Indian Ocean and dispatching two ships via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean for the first time in February 2011.
In addition, in line with international efforts to combat piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.