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Source: USNI News

Jan 24, 2023

By: Sam LaGrone

A two-ship Iranian surface group is set to arrive today for a port visit in Rio de Janeiro as part of a round-the-world cruise, local and Iranian press reported this weekend.

Frigate IRIS Dena and IRIS Makran, Iran’s largest warship, deployed from the Persian Gulf last year and has traveled east through the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, the Pacific and around Cape Horn into the Atlantic, ship spotters told USNI News on Monday.

Brazilian defense writer Guilherme Wiltgen posted on social media that the two ships are set to arrive on Jan. 23 and depart on Jan. 30.

Brazil and Iran have an ongoing trade relationship. The port visit to Rio follows one that the pair of warships made to Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov. 5., as part of the ongoing deployment of Dena and Makran.

Earlier this month, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said the Iranian Navy is set to operate in and around the Panama Cana, while Tehran would set up commands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

“We have been present in all the strategic straits of the world and we have not been present in only two straits, in one of which we will be present this year and we are planning to be present in the Panama Canal,” Irani told Fars News this month.“We have formed three oceanic commands, including the Indian Ocean Command, the Pacific Ocean Command, and the Atlantic Ocean Command. Today we are present in the Indian and Atlantic oceans and soon we will be present in the Pacific Ocean.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told USNI News last week that much of the rhetoric related to the deployment was to counter the ongoing civil unrest in Iran.

“If anything, the statement tells one more about Iranian intentions than capabilities, as the regime tries to project strength abroad when it is increasingly looking weak at home,” Taleblu said.

Iranian state media has played up the deployment and compared it to the 2021 Atlantic deployment of Makran and IRIS Sahand.

“The 86th flotilla is expected to break the record in the distance an Iranian flotilla has sailed in international waters.

Last year, the 75th flotilla, including Sahand and Makran warships, set a new record of navigation for 250,000 kilometers after a trip to Saint Petersburg in Russia,” reported Tehran Times.

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

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