Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —
“I am very concerned about arms shipments, weapons of any kind, near our region,” US Secretary of Defense Austin Lloyd told Congress Thursday.
When asked by a senator from the Democratic Party, Richard Blumenthal, about the possibility that the U.S. government “knew exactly the contents of the Iranian ship,” Austin declined to answer.
“I’d like to let that question just be a question in this taped meeting, or take the conversation to another forum,” Austin said, as reported by AFP.
The Deputy Chief of the Iranian Army, Habibollah Sayyari, said that the Makran destroyer departed from Bandar Abbas Port last month.
According to Sayyari, the Makran mission was the longest and most challenging in the history of the Iranian Navy. However, he did not elaborate further on the mission.
“The navy is increasing its seafaring capacity and proving their resilience in the difficult ocean and Atlantic weather conditions,” Sayyari was quoted as saying. Associated Press.
The Makran voyage first came to attention after satellite imagery from Maxar Techonologies showed seven fast boats on the Makran deck on April 28.
Satellite images from Planet Labs Inc indicate Makran moved from Bandar Abbas Port after April 29. However, the exact location of Makran is unknown at this time.
In May, an anonymous official told Politico that there were indications the ship was headed for Venezuela.
So far, Iran has maintained good relations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela allegedly bought something that was brought on the ship.
The fast boats brought by Makran are usually used by Iran to repel the US fleet in the Persian Gulf. However, it is not yet known whether the ship that Makran was carrying was for Venezuela or not.