Even your friends at Forbes aren't taking this seriously.
Iran Sends 'Fleet' To U.S. East Coast On Comic Relief Mission
"Don’t fear the Iranian “fleet” that is sailing toward the U.S. East Coast. You have more to fear from your bathtub boats than from this ostensible armada.
“The Iranian Army’s naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,”declared Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency
Admiral Haddad pointedly added that “Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message.”
Unfortunately, Iran’s gunboat diplomacy may send the opposite message, namely highlighting just how feeble is the gunboat part. Haddad speaks of the “Iranian Army’s naval fleets”, which not only sounds like a peculiar oxymoron coming from an admiral of the Navy (which presumably is a separate branch from the Army), but also raises the question of what “fleets” he’s talking about. The expeditionary force appears to be the Iranian Navy’s 29th Fleet, which consists of a whopping two ships; the destroyerSabalan
and the helicopter carrier Kharg
, which left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on January 22 for the Atlantic Ocean, according to Iran’s Press TV
Iranian warship Sabalan. Wikipedia photo
But the Sabalan
is a relatively small 45-year-old British-built frigate armed with just four Chinese-made anti-ship missiles and a single big 4.5-inch caliber gun. The ship made history after it was bombed and nearly sunk by U.S. Navy A-6 aircraft in April 1988 after it fired on American planes that were retaliating for Iranian minefields laid in the Persian Gulf (the Sabalan’s
captain was nicknamed “Captain Nasty” for his attacks on neutral merchant ships). The 37-year-old “helicopter carrier” Kharg
carries just three helicopters, notes the War is Boring blog
; it’s actually a tanker and replenishment ship to refuel Iranian warships.
These vessels will obviously be closely monitored by the U.S. Navy, though the U.S. Coast Guard could probably take them out should hostilities flare. Of course, this assumes that the Iranian duo will make it to the East Coast in the first place. The Iranian military has suffered decades of sanctions that have impeded the flow of spare parts. Bandar Abbas is about 6,000 miles from New York, which leaves plenty of empty ocean for two old and maintenance-deprived ships to break down. Perhaps some passing American warships will offer them a tow?
What’s funny is that I wrote virtually the same story more thantwo years ago
. The Iranian armada never materialized then, and who knows if it will now? But if it does, what purpose does this expedition serve? If Iran means to intimidate or deter the U.S from, say, bombing its nuclear facilities, then it can best do so by threatening to either block oil tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf, or unleash terror attacks by Hezbollah. A couple of decrepit ships off Boston harbor won’t cause more than a chuckle.
In the meantime, considering what happened the last time the Sabalan
fired on American forces, Captain Nasty is advised to be on his best behavior."http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpeck/2014/02/10/iranian-navy-sends-fleet-to-u-s-east-coast-for-comic-relief/
And you're talking nuclear weapons.