Iranian warships appear to begin first Atlantic crossing as U.S. warns against weapons transfers
Two Iranian Navy ships rounded the Cape of Good Hope for the first time and appear to be headed across the Atlantic, continuing a journey U.S. officials believe could ultimately end in Venezuela, according to a defense official with direct knowledge.
Tehran has threatened to send warships to the Western Hemisphere before but has aborted previous attempts. U.S. officials are not yet overly concerned, as there is still a small window of time for the ships to turn around or head to port instead of continuing the journey, the defense official said. But a successful crossing would be a significant demonstration of Iran’s naval capability and potentially provide Tehran a new foothold in America's near abroad.
The U.S. national security apparatus has been closely monitoring the ships’ progress for the past two weeks. Their intent and cargo are still unknown, but the assumption is still that they could be headed toward Venezuela, the person said.
Biden officials signaled this week that the administration is concerned the ships could be carrying weapons bound for Caracas and warned that the United States would act to deter such a delivery. Satellite imagery of the ship from early May provided by Maxar Technologies shows seven fast-attack boats aboard its deck.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby noted that....READ MORE
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