Hype Surrounds Iran’s Deployment of Aged Ships ‘Near’ Yemen

Ships Will Be Several Hundred Miles From US Destroyers

The US has often been eager to make much of Iranian naval vessels getting “dangerously” close to US warships, but today’s hype surrounding an Iranian deployment into the Gulf of Aden really stretches that beyond credibility, with officials desperately trying to connect this to US ships also being off the coast of Yemen.

In part of what appears to be totally routine anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, Iran deployed two ships, the frigate Alvand and the replenishment ship Bushehr. The ships were built in the early 1970s, and both have fairly limited, and obviously pretty obsolete, armaments.

By contrast the US has a pair of Arleigh-Burke class destroyers parked in the Red Sea, which readers will also note is a totally different body of water from the one the Iranian ships are deployed to The exact locations are not certain, but the respective ships are likely several hundred miles apart,

With large amounts of piracy going on in the Gulf of Aden, mostly along the Somali coast, a large number of nations, including Iran, have participated in anti-pirate patrols aimed at keeping commercial traffic safe. This is one of the few credible uses Iran even has for ships this old, since pirates usually aren’t working with particularly advanced vessels themselves.

With Saudi Arabia and its coalition conducting a naval blockade of the entire Yemeni coast, Iranian deployments into the Gulf of Aden tend to be hyped up as “confronting” the blockade, though in practice there has not been a single reported incident of the ships even coming across one another during such exercises.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.