Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 22, 2021

How Iran Successfully Trolled The U.S. With A 'Weapon Smuggling' Ship Parade

Remember these June headlines?

> The Biden administration is urging Venezuela and Cuba to turn away two Iranian warships believed to be carrying arms intended for transfer to Caracas, while vowing that the U.S. will take “appropriate measures” to deter what it sees as a “threat” to America’s partners in the Western Hemisphere.

The warnings — some public and some private, according to three people briefed on the situation — come as the vessels have traveled a significant distance across the Atlantic Ocean. A senior Biden administration official said the ships are thought to be carrying weapons to fulfill a deal that Iran and Venezuela made a year ago, noting that it was during the administration of former President Donald Trump. <

A few days later the news had changed a bit.

> U.S. officials believe the course change indicates that a diplomatic campaign to urge governments in the Western Hemisphere to turn away the ships was successful, the official said. The Iranian frigate Sahand and afloat staging base Makran charted a new course after Biden administration officials publicly and privately urged the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and other countries in the region not to allow them to dock, POLITICO reported. <

After the U.S. was blustering that it had won that 'diplomatic campaign' the news was silent about the Iranian ships.

A few days ago the ships were back in the news but only on specialized sites:


The picture shows ship traffic in the Baltic Sea with Germany to the south and Denmark to the north. Sahand and Makran are currently sailing east-northeast at 12 knots.

After having trolled the U.S. with those ships for quite some time Iran has finally announced their real destination:

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi will travel to Saint Petersburg to take part in a naval parade commemorating the 325th anniversary of the Russian Navy foundation.

The Iranian commander is planned to travel to Saint Petersburg on Saturday at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Defense to take part at the event marking the Russian Navy Day.

An Iranian flotilla, including Sahand destroyer and Makran forward base ship, has also been deployed to Russia.

The Iranian destroyer is scheduled to participate in the upcoming naval parade, due to be held in Saint Petersburg’s Neva River on Sunday, July 25.

All the time those ships were supposed to go to St.Petersburg and to take part in Russia's Navy Day. Can you imagine how much fun the Iranian and Russian navy officers involved in this had with those June headlines and the Biden administration's panic threats to South American countries?

Whoever had the idea to strew the rumor that the ships were going to Venezuela deserves a medal.

Posted by b on July 22, 2021 at 17:24 UTC | Permalink


LOL!!! Thanks for that.

Now if only the global finance folk would stop being in control of the levers behind the curtain humanity could focus on potentially more pressing problems with the future of our species.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 22 2021 17:43 utc | 1

Thanks B.
A spot of laughter in a very bleak week.

Posted by: ld | Jul 22 2021 17:50 utc | 2

The Paper Tiger nature of the Outlaw Anglo Empire will continue to be tested as Iran will soon begin shipping its oil from its new terminal on the Gulf of Oman:

"'This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports. Today, the first shipment of 100 tonnes of oil is loaded outside the Strait of Hormuz. This shows the failure of the US sanctions', Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday, referring to the 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) Goreh-Jaskoil pipeline."

I'm not 100% certain, but this pipeline will continue on to Pakistan as Iran's part of what was initially envisioned as the I-P-I Pipeline that would reach India. Again, facts on the ground dispel all sorts of rumors and lies pushed by the Outlaws. The illegal sanctions placed on Iran are slowly falling apart as the world continues to demand oil for energy with the Fracking Ponzi also failing. I recall the pictures of Russian Caliber missiles packed inside what appears to be a normal shipping container and would expect to see the Iranian version mounted on its VLCCs to protect them from Outlaw pirates.

The main fact continuing to gain traction as this decade moves forward is the ever increasing resistance to the attempted coercion by the Outlaw Anglo Empire despite the increasingly desperate shouts by its BigLie Media. The pushbacks at first were light; now they're more like shoves as domestic turmoil further weakens the Outlaws.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2021 17:57 utc | 3

What are the ships' tracks?

If the ships set out towards the western Atlantic before changing course, it sounds to me like an expensive ploy for a goal I fail to understand. Where's the troll?

From the perspective of the bully guarding the high seas, Iran's little head fake, if such were its intent, is not the least bit impressive. It all adds down to yet another opportunity to establish the narrative that Iran has no right whatsoever to trade as it wishes. Incidentally, b, your entire post reinforces that very notion.

Posted by: robin | Jul 22 2021 18:01 utc | 4

@ 4 robin... on the other hand - who gives a f what the usa- biden and etc think?? it is just more drivel from the usa media that is completely self absorbed in its own navel, or navy as the case may be...

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2021 18:11 utc | 5

The IRINIS Makran is the largest warship in the world by displacement (111,530 tonnes/109,770 long tons/122,940 short tons). Nimitz-class carriers only manage 100,000 to 104,600 long tons. No wonder Washington doesn't want to talk about it.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 22 2021 18:14 utc | 6

Sorry, that should be IRINS Makran.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 22 2021 18:15 utc | 7

'Ghost Ship', The Makran is not in the same class as a Nimitz carriers because it is basically a converted oil tanker. Since the U.S. carriers have a nuclear reactor, they need very little space fore fuel and the only think that limits their mission length is their service interval.

But ... the Makran could be used to escort tankers and supply another Iranian warship to Venezuela and I am okay with that. It's safe to conclude this was a test run for this type of mission since there was a second Iranian ship w/the Makran.

On the return voyage will the Makran be carrying any legally purchased Russian weapons? Of course it is more efficient for Russia to transport them via land or air directly but it could be used as a test for future operations.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jul 22 2021 18:32 utc | 8

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2021 18:11 utc | 5

@ 4 robin... on the other hand - who gives a f what the usa- biden and etc think?? it is just more drivel from the usa media that is completely self absorbed in its own navel, or navy as the case may be...
Yeah, naval gazing. I'm pretty sure I read that here. Was that you? If so, good one.

As to your question, I have noticed that far too many people obsess on what they think other people may think of people who think of folks that hate Biden. Or was it Trump? ... Maybe it was Trump.

In any case, any 'troll' by Iran aimed at the US would, by definition, focus squarely on what the latter may think. But I agree with you, this is not what matters here.

What matters is what Joe Sixpack thinks. His line of thinking is probably dead blank because he has no interest whatsoever of these matters. Should he stumble on the story, he'll probably think "Yep, serves 'em right. Durn Yayatollahs, always stirring up trouble with all those terrorist things they do all the time. Next time, sink 'em good."

Posted by: robin | Jul 22 2021 19:19 utc | 9

Remark by Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi about those ships

Posted by: _AR_ | Jul 22 2021 19:21 utc | 10

@ Robin #9

I doubt if any person of reasonable intellect could be bothered to make the effort to fart in the direction of Joe Sixpack, let alone waste any time in considering they can actually formulate a coherent opinion.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Jul 22 2021 19:40 utc | 11

BTW, I've seen it suggested that the Royal Navy only has one operational Type-45 destroyer, HMS Defender. If the Russians had got shirty when it sailed through Russian territorial waters, the Royal Navy would now be in a dire position.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 22 2021 19:49 utc | 12

AND NEITHER THE DANISH, NORWEGIAN, SWEDISH NOT EVEN THE FINNS -- MENTIONED ANYH OF THIS IN THEIR MAJOR NESWAPAPERS! .. only that Iranian warships seemed to escort deliveries to Cuba nd Venezuela, (But the local Swedish-lsngusge newspsper in Borgå~~Porvoo did -- the homr of the Mumin Trolls who always observe the sea. (
(By the way: that newspaper in Borgå was solidly communist when Tove Janssom's Mumintroll series first appeared there from Tove Jansonand also in other leading Hesingfors/Helsinki, Åbo/Turku and othhr newsoutlets in Finland/Suomi, Read all of the Mumintroll stories and enjoy them thinking back to 2FINLANDISATION" DURING THE 'COLD WAR'1

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Jul 22 2021 20:01 utc | 13

>>>>: Christian J. Chuba @ Jul 22 2021 18:32 utc | 8
Did I suggest that the Makran is in the same class a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier? Nah.
Makran is "a converted oil tanker". So what is it very good at hauling around the oceans? Fuel Oil? I believe the only time it'll return to port is when it requires major repairs. Estimated service interval is three years. I doubt the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers can manage that.
Same with other stores. It can carry far more stores than a Nimitz and although Wikipedia gives no mention of the crew size, I suspect it is substantially smaller than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
Among its weapons mentioned on Wikipedia are "two missile container launch platforms". How many containerised Kalibr missiles could you load on to this ship.
BTW, a few years ago, I saw a (Russian?) video of cruise missiles being launched from torpedo tubes near to the waterline. The rate of fire was quite high, a few of those launching cruise missiles that could travel a variable distance under water, and you could launch a salvo that could easily overwhelm any ship-borne air defence system.
How powerful is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier without its aircraft?
As a combined sea base/arsenal ship, I would say that the Makran would be more powerful than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier particularly if you factor in the price difference.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 22 2021 20:24 utc | 14

What level of neuroticism in their minds and hearts!

Posted by: BuffDudeX | Jul 22 2021 21:15 utc | 15

Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש

The Danes have pics and published them.

Meanwhile, here's a report saying the Outlaw US Empire will withdraw all its troops from Iraq by year-end:

"Citing knowledgeable officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that senior officials have come to the agreement that Iraq’s partnership with the US needs to shift away from a military presence and focus instead on increasing intelligence cooperation.

"Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told the Journal that the Middle Eastern country does not 'need any more fighters' since it already has a sufficient supply. 'What do we need? We need cooperation in the field of intelligence,' he underscored.

"Hussein further noted, 'We need help with training. We need troops to help us in the air.'"

Well, it appears that the Empire will salvage a training guise to keep its foot in the Iraqi door to maintain its illegal presence and ongoing criminal activity in Syria. IMO, such a move will NOT satisfy Khamenei's desires for the complete evacuation of all Outlaw Anglo Forces from Southwest Asia. Related to the withdrawal moves is what the domestic political situation is doing to the Outlaw US Empire's military as Philip Giraldi reports:

"Meanwhile, the U.S. military itself, under the Biden Administration, is weaker and more riven by controversy than ever before [Link at original]. A recent 23-page report suggests that since Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s February order to 'stand down' the entire U.S. military for commanders to address 'extremism' in its ranks morale has sunk and many top soldiers have either retired or quit in disgust. During his confirmation hearings [Link at original], Austin pledged that he would 'rid our ranks of racists and extremists' but the reality is quite different, with the witch hunt in the ranks and endless promotion of diversity even hurting normal military readiness training."

Seems the 1%'s current ploy to Divide and Rule has blown-back bigtime and destabilized the entire military!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2021 22:43 utc | 16

h-Jask oil pipeline is a new strategic mainly oil pipeline, an Iranian made 42-inch pipeline delivering Iran’s western oilfields oil to outside of Persian Gulf, basically Iran is moving her main oil terminal at Khark Island, to the outside of Persian gulf in case of closure of Strait of Hormuz, also it shortens the distance of shipping.
Iran, Pakistan, India Gas pipeline which later became Iran-Pakistan pipeline is a gas pipeline designed to deliver Iranian Gas from the gulf oilfields (Asalouyeh pars energy zone ) to Pakistan and India, Iran segment of (1172 KM) the pipeline to the Pakistan border was completed in 2018 , and is continuing south the new Iranian, Indian ocean port of Chahbahar.

Posted by: kooshy | Jul 22 2021 22:59 utc | 17

Amerikastanis and their Brutish slaves have so much race hatred for Iranians that they can't engendered twist their minds around the concept that the Iranians are people too and at least as smart as they.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jul 22 2021 23:29 utc | 18

What the world needs is active trade-then-military shipping from China-Russia-Iran-India to S America, moving gradually to Central America and then Cuba and Venezuela. The US will have to admit that its Monroe Doctrine is purely neocolonial. then relinquish that, and will then feel that it is in a corner, forced at length to admit its bad intentions and failure to develop mutually beneficial relationships in its own hemisphere. That will be a critical turn of events,leading perhaps eventually to reforms, no doubt after a long bumpy period of foolish and selfish US political propaganda and trouble-making.

Posted by: Sam mF | Jul 22 2021 23:39 utc | 19

Would be hilarious if the two ships headed home via Venezuela !!

Posted by: dunglee | Jul 23 2021 5:49 utc | 20

The surface to air of the corvette is derived from a missile system of the 1960. it is rumored it can cooperate with S200. The helicopter is one Bell uh1. This frigate is a joke. No wonder they avoided the Suez Canal and a made the trip around Africa.

Posted by: murgen23 | Jul 23 2021 6:36 utc | 21

Found this, from 3rd June 2021:

"However, Kharg’s sinking may have interrupted the transport of the boats to Venezuela. There are unconfirmed social media reports that Makran has been diverted to replace Kharg in a training exercise with the Russian Navy


Posted by: murgen23 | Jul 23 2021 6:52 utc | 22

The Case of Bias reporting, one can only appreciate what b, does and risks he takes!
Thanks b,
Wyatt Reed
Can you spot the difference?

Colombia Cuba

# of protesters 1,000,000s 1,000s

# killed by police 44+ 0

Still happening ✅ ❌

US sanctions ❌ ✅

Posted by: Grishka | Jul 23 2021 7:36 utc | 23

It seems the Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group have by-passed the Persian Gulf even though HMS Defender is still shown on as being off Bahrein. Are they frightened of Iranian anti-ship missiles? The Iranians have often confronted the RN when they felt it appropriate. And in contrast to Russia's territorial waters, there is freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz

They have moved on to canoodling with the Indian and Thai navies. The RN does love its curries.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 23 2021 8:28 utc | 24

Ghost Ship @13, I was only saying that displacement alone is misleading because fuel becomes a big factor in determining a ship's requirements and you only mentioned displacement in your OP.
The space needed for fuel in nuclear powered vessels negligible. The Makron is indeed a very impressive ship, but since it is designed for very long missions and to supply at least one escort on those missions, a lot of its displacement will be used for fuel. It reminds me of the German Milch Cow of WW2, but unlike the Milch cow it does have a very impressive array of weapons.

The Makran is well suited for Iran's needs. I look forward to the day when it enters Porto Cabello, Venezuela along side an Iranian missile ship and several tankers and freighters. That will be an actual 'freedom of navigation op', not U.S. power projection masquerading as one.
Some might ask, why can't Iran refuel a missile ship today with existing tankers for long range escort?

1. That is a military operation and it's best to leave civilian tankers out of it.

2. Refueling at sea is dangerous, it's best to have a dedicated crew and equipment that specializes at doing that.

3. And as Ghost Ship points out, the Makran has additional defense capability to deter the world's #1 state sponsor of piracy.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jul 23 2021 13:32 utc | 25

As I see it, the U.S. will not be embarrassed by this story, as almost no one in the Western world will ever know about it. Iranians and Russians may get a good laugh, but they will be the only ones (along with readers of MoA). The original bogus "weapons to Cuba and Venezuela" story is the one that is planted in the minds of credulous followers of the MSM.

Posted by: Rob | Jul 23 2021 16:36 utc | 26

Interestingly, as a naval auxiliary vessel this ship has certain maritime rights that civilian vessels do not have.

Posted by: Victor | Jul 23 2021 20:01 utc | 27

Interestingly, as a naval auxiliary vessel this ship has certain maritime rights that civilian vessels do not have.
Posted by: Victor | Jul 23 2021 20:01 utc | 27

The pair, the frigate IRINS Sahand and former oil-tanker-turned warship IRINS Makran, sailed up the West coast of Africa and past Spain and France before approaching the southern coast of England. Leaving Iran in April with arms and likely refined fuel, the duo was first thought to be headed to Venezuela before lingering off the coast of Senegal and then heading toward the North Atlantic.
As far as I can tell there was never at any time even one iota of evidence the two ships intended to cross the atlantic at all, and followed eastern coastlines all the time. Iran weren't trolling the US, they were minding their own business and pursuing their own legitimate objectives which had nothing whatsoever to do with the US fantasies.

All the infantile allegations of what these ships were planning to do and what they were carrying only show up the stupidity and incompetence of the US and their puppets.

But Makran is a naval auxiliary, which provides it with some protection under international law. As a naval auxiliary, it is classified as a warship and is therefore entitled to sovereign immunity. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is immune from the jurisdiction of any other state. So it, or its cargo, could not be seized in the same manner as the civilian vessels.

There is a trade-off, however. Being a naval auxiliary, in wartime it is not entitled to belligerent rights during armed conflict. This means that it cannot lawfully conduct attacks. So long-range anti-ship missiles, like those carried on another Iranian forward base ship, Shahid Roudaki, could not credibly be fitted. But Makran has none of these, only helicopters, short range cannon, or six autocannon positions, and machine guns are fitted. And like U.S. naval auxiliaries, it can carry out the full range of naval support missions in peace or war.

Even if it cannot lawfully conduct attacks, one would have to assume it can lawfully defend itself against attacks by others. Presumably including the use of long-range anti-ship missiles to defend itself against credible US/UK threats. As a corollary, maybe it could also counter-attack if a ship it is accompanying has already been attacked - but I have no idea what the law of the sea actually says about that.

Incidentally the above link is quite interesting to read - but do hold your nose well.

Posted by: BM | Jul 24 2021 13:43 utc | 28

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