Tue Mar 7, 2017 5:9PM
The file photo shows Iran's domestically-manufactured Damavand destroyer.
The file photo shows Iran's domestically-manufactured Damavand destroyer.

A flotilla of Iranian warships has left the country’s northern territorial waters for Russia in a bid to convey the Islamic Republic’s message of peace and friendship.

The naval fleet, comprised of the domestically-manufactured Damavand destroyer and a missile-launching frigate, dubbed Derafsh, set sail for Makhachkala, the capital city of the Republic of Dagestan, in Russia on Tuesday.

The flotilla is the fourth fleet dispatched by the Iranian Navy in its northern waters. The Navy has previously sent three fleets to Russia and one to Azerbaijan.

The commander of Iran's fleet of warships in the northern province of Gilan, Admiral Ahmad Reza Baqeri, said the fleet’s voyage would last for one week and it would stay in Makhachkala for three days.

He added that the trip is aimed at strengthening cooperation on upholding security in the Caspian Sea and meeting with senior Russian naval officials.

Makhachkala is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

Late last month, Iranian naval forces launched the final stage of a large-scale drill north of the Indian Ocean to enhance their defense capabilities.

Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced the beginning of the maneuver, code-named Velayat 95, on February 26.

"The aim of the Velayat 95 drill is to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities and send Iran's message of peace and friendship to the regional countries," the Navy chief said aboard the Sahand warship.  

In recent years, Iran’s Navy has also increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, safeguarding merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.

Iran’s Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.