Iran is preparing to send a flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean following the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, according to Iranian leaders, who say the military moves are in response to recent efforts by the United States to impose a package of new economic sanctions on Tehran.
The military investment and buildup comes following weeks of tense interactions between Iran and the United States in regional waters, where Iranian military ships have carried out a series of dangerous maneuvers near U.S. vessels. The interactions have roiled U.S. military leaders and prompted tough talk from the Trump administration, which is currently examining potential ways to leave the landmark nuclear deal.
Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior also follows a little-noticed United Nations report disclosing that Iran has repeatedly violated international accords banning ballistic missile work. Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress and some policy experts also believe that Iran has been violating some provisions in the nuclear agreement governing nuclear-related materials.
With tensions over sanctions and Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement growing, Iranian parliamentary members voted to increase war spending by more than $500 million. This is at least the second recent cash influx to Iran’s military since the landmark nuclear deal that unfroze billions in Iranian assets and saw the United States awarding Tehran millions in cash.
Iranian lawmakers reportedly shouted “death to America” as they passed the measure, which boosts spending to Iran’s contested missile programs by around $260 million.
The bill also imposes sanctions on U.S. military officials in the region. Additionally, Iranian officials are moving to set up courts to prosecute the United States for the recent sanctions, which Iran claims are in violation of the nuclear deal. …
“No military official in the world thought that we can go round Africa to the Atlantic Ocean through the Suez Canal but we did it as we had declared that we would go to the Atlantic and its Western waters,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying over the weekend.
“We moved into the Atlantic and will go to its Western waters in the near future,” Sayyari said.
Source: Washington Free Beacon
Analysis: The Iranian navy is no match for the U.S. Navy or most other Western navies, for that matter, and Iranian ‘prosecutions’ will have no bearing on U.S. military policy and pursuit of national security objectives in the Persian Gulf or the broader Mideast.
Additionally, the deployment of a small flotilla of Iranian warships to the Atlantic seems to be aimed more at impressing the Iranian people than imposing a threat to the United States. Still, the regime appears to be operating under the same bold presumptions developed during the previous administration, which did little to confront Iranian aggression and in fact was seen as being too accommodating with the so-called “nuclear deal” and the repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars into Iranian coffers, which the government is spending on military upgrades. The Iranian navy will not seriously challenge U.S. or Western ships anywhere, but especially so far away from Iranian shores.