MOSCOW, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - Iranian naval ships are expected to arrive early morning Friday on an unofficial visit in the port of Astrakhan, which is used as a base by the Russian Caspian Flotilla, the press service of the Southern Military District said Thursday.
“The detachment of Iranian warships that is due to arrives in Astrakhan at about 08:00 hours Moscow Standard Time Friday includes two guided-missile boats - the Peikan and the Jushan,” he said. Standing in command of the ships is Captain Mohammad Hassan Azerpeikan.
The Caspian flotilla’s newest ship, the smaller gunship Volgodonsk greeted the Iranian seamen out in the Caspian Sea at the entrance of the Volga-Caspian canal. It is escorting the detachment along the canal towards Astrakhan.
Friday, the gala meet and greet ceremony will be held on the city’s Peter I Square to the sounds of the flotilla’s brass band that will perform the Russian and Iranian national anthems.
The guided-missile boards will stay in Astrakhan, Russia’s historical gateway to the
Caspian littoral area, through to July 1.
As part of the cultural program, the Iranian naval crews will visit a number of local museums, including the museum of the Caspian Flotilla, and the Volgodonsk gunship.
The crews of Russian ships will have an opportunity to assess the conditions of service aboard the Peikan and the Jushan, build in 2003 and 2006 respectively.
Sunday, the seamen will have a football game and competitions in the tug of war.
The Caspian flotilla ships visited Iran in 2007. The missile cruiser Tatarstan called in the port of Enzeli then.
The current visit has been organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense together with the Astrakhan region government and the Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Astrakhan.
Igor Gorbul, a spokesman for Russia’s Southern Military District told Itar-Tass Wednesday the visit was initially scheduled for June 22 but was then rescheduled to June 28. Under the initial plans, the ships were supposed to call into the Astrakhan port June 22.
Iran’s Admiral Siyavush Jarre told Iranian news agencies Wednesday that the two ships heading for Russia were built in 2003 and 2006.
The visit is a message of friendship to the all the Caspian littoral countries but it is called upon to demonstrate Iran’s combat capability, Adm Jarre said.
At the end of April, Russia’s Pacific Fleet ships the Admiral Panteleyev, the big antisubmarine ship Peresvet and the big antisubmarine ship Admiral Nevelskoi made a visit to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas located in the coast of the Persian Gulf.