The Iranian navy has announced plans to build more warships and increase its presence in international waters at a time of growing tension in the Middle East over Tehran’s nuclear program, Reuters
reported Thursday, June 21. Navy commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the deployments would protect Iranian cargo ships around the world, in particular in the Gulf of Aden and the northern part of the Indian Ocean. Iranian military officials often assert their military strength in the region, particularly in the Strait of Hormuz, a key global oil channel. Tehran has previously threatened to block the waterway if attacked. Two Iranian warships entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal in February 2011 for the first time, and naval vessels also called at a Syrian naval base this February in a show of support for its ally President Bashar Assad.