AFP, Tehran, 30 August 2011 — Iran has dispatched a submarine and a warship to the Red Sea on a patrol mission, navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said in a report by state media on Tuesday.
"This flotilla which is comprised of a submarine and a warship will patrol the high seas and display the capabilities of the Islamic republic of Iran," said Sayyari, quoted by the state television website.
In July, Iran announced intentions to boost its military presence in international waters, with plans to deploy warships in the Atlantic.
Sayyari said the flotilla, in its 15th mission of its kind to be dispatched to the Red Sea, would also focus on "fighting piracy".
In recent years, local media have reported that Iranian warships accompanied Iranian ships and those of other nations as they made their way across the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
In June, Iranian "Kilo" class submarines escorted warships to the Red Sea "to collect data," in their first mission in distant waters.
Iran’s maritime forces are composed mainly of small units equipped with missiles and operating under the control of the elite Revolutionary Guards in the Gulf.
The ocean-going fleet is also small and under the command of the navy which comprises a half-dozen frigates and destroyers from 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes, and three 3,000-tonne submarines bought from Russia in the 1990s.
In February, Iran moved two warships into the Mediterranean, crossing the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, triggering anger in Israel and prompting the Jewish state to put its navy on alert.