Daily Israel Report

Iranian Submarine Departs Red Sea

Iran's submarine Yunis has concluded a 66 day mission in the Red Sea defense analysts say was likely aimed at Israel.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/7/2011, 7:48 PM / Last Update: 7/8/2011, 12:15 AM

The Iranian submarine Yunis returned to Tehran after a 66-day mission in international waters - mostly in the Red Sea.

The Yunis accompanied Iran's 14th Fleet, comprised of the Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas warship, on a mission that took it to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Iranian naval official Ahmad Reza Baqeri told reporters the presence of the Yunis submarine along with the 14th fleet, "has demonstrated the Iranian Navy’s military power and astonished extra-regional powers."

Once the Iranian military studies and assesses the results of the recent voyage, he added, it will consider deploying submarines in the far seas again, if necessary.

The Yunis commander, Hussein Hariri, said the submarine traveled some 3,800 nautical miles and that "it was successful in registering a large number of underwater vessels."

Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari meanwhile, said that Iran’s military capabilities do not pose any threat to any country, adding that Iran’s Navy is ready to hold joint maneuvers with other countries.

The submarine's official mission was to ward off Somali pirates who threaten Iranian merchant ships, but security analysts say the Yunis was likely tracking Israeli movements and testing ability to approach shore undetected.

The 14th fleet's presence, analysts say, may also be intended to hint to Iran's allies – Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – that it can provide them with assistance if needed.

Israeli defense officials refused to comment on the Yunis' mission.