The commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said Saturday that several warships have begun their journey to the Atlantic Ocean near US maritime waters for the first time. They carry a message, he said: Tehran is responding to US naval deployments near its own coastlines. He was referring to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in Bahrain. The Iranian fleet consists of the destroyer Sabalan and logistic helicopter carrier Khark, which will be on a three-month mission near the US coastline. DEBKAfile: The announcement coincided with the tough demands raised by a team of UN watchdog monitors visiting Tehran to open up Iranian’s military-related nuclear facilities, such as the Parchin base.

The Iranians are certain the US will not strike back at their naval deployment for fear of disrupting the ongoing nuclear diplomatic track.