Aug. 26 (UPI) — Iran dispatched a destroyer and helicopter carrier to the Gulf of Aden to protect its trade ships, a senior Iranian military official announced on Monday.
The destroyer Sahand and the carrier Khark will escort ships “to provide security for Islamic Republic vessels in international waters,” Iranian Army Chief of Staff Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said.
The Sahand, built in Iran and launched in 2018, is regarded as the most advanced warship in Iran’s navy. It is equipped with anti-aircraft artillery, torpedoes and surface-to-surface missiles.
The United States has sought to to assemble a coalition to protect shipping in the area following attacks in May and June on oil tankers.
In July, a British-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iran after an Iranian tanker was seized by the United States off the coast of Gibraltar for allegedly carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
The United States has also increased its presence in the region with a carrier strike force led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
The strategically-located Gulf of Aden is a deep-water gulf with Yemen to the north, the Arabian Sea to the east, Somalia to the south, and Djibouti to the west. It connects with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, separating the Arabian peninsula from the Horn of Africa.