Iran announced recently that it plans on expanding its naval presence into the Atlantic Ocean, and potentially rubbing shoulders with the Navy there.
While Iran’s navy does have a substantial asymmetric warfare capability within the Persian Gulf area, it does not have the means to maintain any type of long-term presence in the Atlantic Ocean.
The bulk of Iran’s naval assets include a slew of patrol boats that are armed to the teeth with missiles and other light weaponry, but it lacks the necessary amount of destroyers, submarines, and sophisticated weapon systems to pose any real threat to American assets.
Given that Iran could only close the Strait of Hormuz for a matter of weeks before the U.S. Fifth Fleet reopened it, it is highly unlikely that statements made by Iranian Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari were much more than loose rhetoric.
Iranian officers and regime officials often times make statements that have no basis in fact or intent, as was witnessed recently when Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said, "The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel." The Ayatollah has been more careful and specific in his statements however when he states that the Zionist regime in Israel is the real enemy of Iran.
Needless to say, Iranian regime members oftentimes make dissonant statements, and Admiral Sayyari’s is no different. The cause for such chest thumping could come from the increased tension from sanctions imposed by the U.S., Iran’s weakened economy as a result of those sanctions, and the quiet increase in presence of the Navy in the Gulf area that is threatening Iran.