The presence of Iranian ships in Latin America has raised concerns in all parts of the world. “Israel views the docking of Iranian warships in Brazil a few days ago as a dangerous and regrettable development,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat said via Twitter on March 2.
“Those ships were specifically designated by the United States just a few weeks ago and are part of the Iranian Navy, which works closely and synchronizes its actions with IRGC Navy [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy], a designated entity,” Haiat added.
Likewise, security experts see the maneuvers of Iranian ships as a threat. “The movement of Iranian warships in Latin America should be an indication of how dangerous the Western Hemisphere has become,” Luis Fleischman, a sociology professor at Palm Beach State University in Florida, told Diálogo. “The United States should be more aggressive […].”
On February 3, the United States included the Makran and Dena vessels in the list of sanctions against the Iranian company Paravar Pars, accused of manufacturing drones for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, which Washington considers a terrorist organization.
“Iranian UAVs are being transferred to Russia for use in its brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement identifying the IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena vessels as part of the sanctions.
The IRIS Dena is a 1,300 ton Iranian-made destroyer armed with missiles, torpedoes, and guns that entered service in 2021, according to Iranian Mehr news agency. “The Dena destroyer has the capability to search, detect, monitor, confront, and, if necessary, destroy any air, ground, and subsurface threats,” Mehr reported in June 2021, when the ship joined the Iranian Navy.
In turn, IRIS Makran is a tanker-turned-military vessel that weighs 121,000 tons. It can carry five helicopters and is used to provide logistics support to combat ships, Iran’s Tasnim news agency indicated.
The 86th Flotilla is one of three Iranian squadrons currently deployed in international waters. The 88th Flotilla is in the Indian Ocean and the 89th Flotilla in the Pacific, CNN en Español reported.