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Iran Deploys to Red Sea, Islamic Republic's Destroyer Seen Near Critical Choke Point

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As Israel’s war against the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas continues, other Iranian proxies have made their presence felt with attacks in the Middle East.

Since the massive Hamas attack on Israel Oct. 7 sparked the war between Israel and the Islamist group that rules Gaza, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have targeted commercial vessels in the Red Sea in over 100 attacks, as CNN reported.

Now, Iran itself has entered the picture.

On Monday, an Iranian warship entered the Red Sea, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, as reported by Reuters. 

The destroyer Alborz sailed into the Red Sea via the Bab al-Mandab Strait, Tasnim reported, according to Reuters.

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The report did not specify the warship’s exact mission but said the naval forces of the Islamic Republic have been patrolling open waters since 2009 to secure shipping lanes, combat piracy, and conduct other naval operations, according to Reuters.

The appearance of the ship follows the sinking by the U.S. Navy of three vessels carrying Iran-backed Houthi fighters who tried boarding a container vessel, the Danish-owned Maersk Hangzhou, in the southern Red Sea.

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The ships approached within 20 meters of the Hangzhou and sought to commandeer it before U.S. helicopters intervened, sinking the boats and killing the rebels aboard, the military’s Central Command said, according to Politico. 

Earlier in December, Iran’s navy chief said the Alborz was carrying out missions in the Red Sea. Iran’s Defense Minister also commented that “nobody can make a move in a region where we have predominance” — an apparent reference to the Red Sea, Reuters reported.

As noted in December by the U.K. Guardian, the Red Sea — south of the Suez Canal, between Africa and Saudia Arabia — is one of the world’s most heavily traveled sea routes. A narrow passage at its southern end —  the 20-mile-wide Bab al-Mandab Strait — constitutes a veritable choke point of the international shipping trade.

The Alborz entered the Red Sea through that strait, according to Reuters.

“Iran’s foray into the Red Sea a day after the US action compounds a highly volatile situation in the channel that handles about 12% of the world’s commerce,” Bloomberg reported. “The move could be seen as a challenge to the US-led maritime task force established last month to halt attacks on ships by the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels who control a swath of Yemen’s northwest, including the capital Sanaa and the Red Sea port of Al-Hudaydah.”

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A single ship alone likely poses little direct military threat to the formidable American naval forces that patrol the Red Sea and the broader Middle East.

However, Iran’s regime has never been one to play by conventional rules. Its tactics rely more on asymmetric warfare – using limited resources to sow unpredictability and chaos.

While the scale of Iran’s destroyer deployment seems limited, it is still a reason for concern.

After all, to Americans, every life is precious, and even lone wolves can bite.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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