Iran’s warships sail to Oman as the Qatar crisis deepens.

We highlighted the developing crisis around Qatar, the oil and gas state in the Persian Gulf over the past two days. Not only does the latest news from the Gulf suggest the situation is getting more dangerous, there are signs it is threatening to spread.

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On Sunday (11 June), the 47th flotilla of the Iranian Navy, comprised of an Alborz destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, set sail from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas to take up positions off Oman, in the approaches to the Gulf, Tasnim News reports.. Oman has so far stood aside from the conflict between Wahhabi Muslim Saudi Arabia and the Iranian backed shia Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen and from other conflicts in the Arab world triggered by the so – called Arab Sping resurgence of Islamic extremism. From Oman, the ships will head to the Gulf of Aden and international waters in the northern reaches of the Indian Ocean.

At the same time, the 46th flotilla, is due to return to Iran on Sunday after completing a two-month mission to protect merchant vessels and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden. The Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols of the region since November 2008 as part of international anti-piracy efforts.

“Today, there is some controlled insecurity in the Gulf of Aden and we have been able to escort over 4,000 oil tankers and cargo ships to the safe regions without any disruption in our plans for oil and non-oil exports and imports,” Admiral Sayyari told Fars News Agency.

The Gulf of Aden, which lies between the Horn of Africa and the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is a major concern to security agencies in the west and east. The war in Yemen between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels has led to a number of ships in the area coming under attack. Meanwhile, pirates in Somalia have been taking advantage of the chaos to launch raids on merchant vessels passing through the area, one of the busiest shipping routes for oil in the world.

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