The file photo shows IranianAlvand Destroyer. in Suez Canal Iranian naval forces have successfully thwarted major pirate attacks on two merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden. The 44th flotilla of the Iranian Navy, consisting of Alvand destroyer and the Bushehr logistic vessel, saved two Iranian ships from three pirate attacks on Monday morning. Gulf of Aden pirates, who mainly come from Somali coasts, attacked an Iranian merchant ship in a bid to highjack it but they were forced to flee after a heavy exchange of fire by the Iranian fleet. The pirates also conducted two attacks on another Iranian merchant ship. They initially attacked the vessel with eight speedboats 46 miles south of the Yemeni city of Aden and later with 13 well-equipped boats 55 miles south of the port city. However, the two attacks were repelled by the Iranian naval forces and the pirates were forced to retreat when they came under heavy fire. The 44th flotilla of the Iranian Navy set off for high seas on October 5 to safeguard maritime routes. Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said in September that the country’s naval forces escorted some 3,200 Iranian and non-Iranian commercial ships and tankers over the past six years to ensure their safe passage in the Gulf of Aden. Sayyari added that Iran has almost 5,000 kilometers of maritime boundary directly linking it to the high seas, a strategic geographical position which has turned the country into a center of attention for hegemonic powers. In recent years, Iran’s Navy has 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.