An Iranian naval commander says Iran has ordered several warships to approach U.S. maritime borders as a response to the stationing of U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian media Saturday quoted Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad as saying that a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship have already entered the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.
Haddad, commander of the Iranian navy's northern fleet, said the vessels will sail close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time and that "this move has a message."
The ships reportedly began their voyage last month from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. Iranian reports say the ships carry some navy academy cadets for training along with their regular crews. They are on a three-month mission.
The Islamic Republic considers the move a response to U.S. naval deployments near Iranian waters.
The U.S. Navy has a regular presence in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain, across the Gulf from Iran.