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Iran planning to send ships near U.S. waters

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 28, 2011 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State-run news agency says there will be a "powerful presence" near U.S. borders
  • Adm. Habibollah Sayari made the announcement

(CNN) -- Iran plans to send ships near the Atlantic coast of the United States, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday, quoting a commander.

"The Navy of the Iranian Army will have a powerful presence near the United States borders," read the headline of the story, in Farsi.

"Commander of the Navy of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran broke the news about the plans for the presence of this force in the Atlantic Ocean and said that the same way that the world arrogant power is present near our marine borders, we, with the help of our sailors who follow the concept of the supreme jurisprudence, shall also establish a powerful presence near the marine borders of the United States," the story said. The reference to the "world arrogant power" was presumably intended to refer to the United States.

IRNA cited the force's website as saying that the announcement was made by Adm. Habibollah Sayari on the 31st anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war.

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State-run Press TV said Sayari had announced similar plans in July. In February, two Iranian Navy ships traversed the Suez Canal in the first such voyages by Iranian ships since 1979.

U.S. Defense Department officials had no immediate reaction to Tuesday's announcement. The United States has deployed fleets to the Persian Gulf in the past.

State-run Press TV, citing IRNA, said Tuesday's announcement came as Iran also plans to send its 16th fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian vessels and oil tankers from pirates, who have hijacked dozens of ships and exchanged their crews for ransom.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured that its military might poses no threat to other countries, stating that Tehran's defense doctrine is based only on deterrence, Press TV reported in a story in July about the deployment of submarines to international waters.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report

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