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Iran mum on destination of two warships in Atlantic Ocean

Iran mum on destination of two warships in Atlantic Ocean
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Iran announced publicly for the first time Thursday that it is sending two warships into the Atlantic Ocean but remained mum on where exactly the two vessels are headed.

Iranian state media reported that the destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran had arrived in the Atlantic in a move Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told Iranian journalists showed the country’s power.

The two ships departed in May from Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas and are embarking on what Sayyari said was one of the Iranian military’s most ambitious voyages yet. 

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The public admission of the voyage comes amid heightened speculation in the U.S. over the two ships’ destination.

Reports have suggested that the two vessels could be bound for Venezuela and might even be transporting weapons to the country, a move that Washington would likely consider to be highly provocative.

Politico reported Wednesday that the U.S. is pressing Venezuela and Cuba to turn away the two warships, warning that measures would be taken to prevent a threat to Washington's Western Hemisphere allies.

Venezuela and Iran, which are currently under heavy sanctions by the U.S., have cultivated close ties in recent years and cooperated on gasoline shipments and factory projects.

Iran has endeavored on cross-Atlantic voyages in the past, though with minimal success.

The current trip comes as Tehran negotiates directly with European diplomats and indirectly with the U.S. over a return to the Obama-era nuclear deal from which then-President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE withdrew the U.S. in 2018. The country is also holding a presidential election next week.