Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East caused by the US conflict with the Houthis in Yemen, whom Iran supports, Iran has sent its warship, the Alborz, to the Red Sea.
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the Iranian official media agency, the Alborz destroyer cleared the Bab el-Mandeb Strait before entering the Red Sea. The deployment takes place as the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates, adding fuel to the already high tensions in the Middle East. If Iran chooses to interfere in any dispute between the United States and the Houthis, the Iranian vessel may become a more formidable adversary.
Israel is fighting the terrorist Palestinian organization Hamas, and the United States has sent many ships to the eastern Mediterranean, close to the Red Sea, to quell the violence and keep it from spreading. Since the Israel-Hamas conflict began, the Houthis have been a constant threat in the Red Sea, launching as many as twelve missiles at American ships. They damaged a second commercial ship last month and captured one in November.
The Houthi uprising began in November in reaction to Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians were trapped in what has been called an “open-air” prison.
The United States task force is attempting to safeguard commerce ships in the Red Sea and dissuade the Houthis by patrolling the sea, with most of its members hailing from Western and European countries. Because the Houthis have promised to maintain their current rate of strikes, it is unclear if the task force would reduce the ferocity of the engagement.
The 34th fleet of the Iranian navy, which included the British-built Alvand class frigate and the Bushehr support vessel, began patrolling the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, the northern Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden in 2015.
The unsubstantiated allegations of the Iranian vessel’s movements were denied by the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed in Bahrain.