US security agencies are keeping a close eye on two Iranian warships. These may be headed toward Venezuela. Sources said that an Iranian frigate and a oil tanker known as the Makran are currently sailing along the east coast of Africa.
Both Iran and Venezuela are under heavy sanctions from the United States. These countries have become closer allies in recent years. Iran has sent multiple fuel tankers to Venezuela as the country faces crippling gas shortages. Iran has also established a car assembly plant and a huge cement factory in Venezuela.
Intelligence officials remain mystified by Iran’s motivations. They are unsure what kind of cargo they may be holding. However, if the ships do end up in Venezuela it could be a sign Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is trying to intimidate Washington. Makran was commissioned this year. Iranian officials have boasted its missile and weapons capabilities, and it also can carry up to six helicopters.
The presence of the Iranian vessels so close to the United States – less than 1,500 miles – could complicate Joe Biden’s plans to begin negotiations with the Islamic country. In 2018, President Trump abandoned the Iran Nuclear Deal that Obama struck with Tehran. Earlier this month, Senator Pat Toomey demanded Biden keep sanctions in place against Iran after the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards released a chilling propaganda video which depicts the United States Capitol being blown up by a missile and its soldiers ‘liberating’ Jerusalem.