2 Iranian navy ships are heading to the Americas, posing a potential provocation to the US

·2 min read
Makran iran ship americas
An Iranian naval ship near Larak Island, Iran, on May 10. Maxar via Reuters
  • The US is tracking two Iranian navy ships believed to be headed for Venezuela.

  • Politico said the ships, thought to be carrying "missile-attack craft," were nearing the Atlantic.

  • Biden is trying to lure Iran back to the 2015 nuclear deal and appears reluctant to anger Tehran.

  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Two Iranian navy ships heading to the Americas are expected to soon enter the Atlantic Ocean, posing a new problem for the Biden administration, Politico reported on Wednesday.

On Saturday, the outlet reported that the US was surveilling the Makran, an oil tanker turned staging base, and an Iranian navy frigate believed to be headed for Venezuela.

Iran has long threatened to deploy its navy to the Atlantic Ocean.

Iran's intentions are not clear, but a National Security Council spokesperson told Politico that Venezuela had purchased weapons from Iran over a year ago.

'This has all the markings of delivery on an arms sale'

Citing satellite images, USNI News reported on Tuesday that the Makran was carrying "seven high-speed missile-attack craft."

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted that the incursion was an attempt to "project a message of strength to the Biden administration."

"This has all the markings of delivery on an arms sale (such as fast attack boats) to #Venezuela," he said.

A US defense official told Politico that the Pentagon had no plans to deploy US Navy ships to meet the Iranian boats.

'I warn that nobody should make a miscalculation'

John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said during a press briefing on Tuesday that he wouldn't "speculate about what the Iranian navy might or might not do," Politico reported.

The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

On Monday, Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, said nations should not jump to conclusions about Iran's intentions. "Iran has constant presence in international waters, is entitled to this right on the basis of international law," he said, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency.

"I warn that nobody should make a miscalculation," Khatibzadeh said. "Those who live in glass houses must be cautious."

The approaching Iranian vessels pose a new test for the Biden administration

The US is trying to lure Iran back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It might also end sanctions introduced under the Trump administration after the US left the agreement in May 2018.

Confronting the Iranian vessels in international waters could anger Tehran and jeopardize the US's efforts.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting