Defense Minister Lloyd Austin claimed during a Senate hearing. The vessels, which currently sail the Atlantic, would transport weapons and warboats.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that he is concerned about the presence in the Atlantic Ocean of two Iranian vessels that are reportedly heading to Venezuela with weapons.
Specifically, Austin said he was "absolutely concerned" in response to a US senator during a congressional hearing, although he was very cautious about possible plans to prevent such a move.
Several US media outlets published satellite photos in recent days showing one of the two Iranian ships, the Makran, loaded with half a dozen speedboats similar to those used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in the Gulf, but so far, the Pentagon had declined to comment on the issue.
According to anonymous sources cited by the Politico site, the Makran and the frigate Sahand circled Africa. Before entering the Atlantic, they passed the Cape of Good Hope the first time Iranian warships have made this transit." These vessels are believed to carry weapons to comply with an agreement that Iran and Venezuela made a year ago," said influential Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal l during a hearing with the Secretary of Defense before the Senate Armed Forces Committee." The precedent of allowing Iranian ships to provide arms to the region causes me great concern" he added before asking Austin if he shared his concern." I am very concerned about the proliferation of weapons, any weapon, in our neighborhood," Austin responded." So I share your concern"
While Blumenthal raised the possibility of Venezuela ordering long-range missiles from Tehran, the Pentagon chief refrained from indicating the nature of the weapons that Iranian ships would carry, adding that he preferred to provide details behind closed doors.
However, he specified that he had not discussed the ship's movements with any ruler in the region." I have not had discussions with any other nation in our hemisphere on this issue," he said.
Possible delivery of Iranian weapons to Venezuela would be a "provocation and would be understood as a threat to our partner" in Latin America and the Caribbean, a senior US official cited Wednesday by Politico warned." We reserve the right to take the appropriate measures, in coordination with our partners, to discourage the transit or delivery of said weapons" added the official, who requested anonymity." The sale of Iranian weapons occurred a year ago under the previous [US] administration and like many Iran-related situations under the previous administration - including the outbreak of the Iranian nuclear program following the reckless withdrawal of the Trump administration from the [Iranian nuclear deal. ] - "We are trying to resolve this through diplomacy (...), but it is clear that Iran sold arms to Venezuela more than a year ago, which we believe is a sign of the Trump administration," the source added. The maximum pressure was to check the position.
As US security agencies continue to monitor the two Iranian warships heading towards Central America, the United States has warned the dictatorships of Venezuela and Cuba - allied to Tehran - to reject the Persian ships believed to be transporting weapons to them.
In recent years, Tehran has established itself as one of the prominent supporters of the Chavista dictatorship. It has already become one of its largest commercial partners in the fuel, health, and food sectors.
The alliance between Venezuela and Iran was born with Hugo Chavez. The President's close ties with the Persian government began in 2000 during a meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Caracas.