An Iranian warship has repelled pirates who were trying to take over two Iranian oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden, state television said. The commander of Iran’s navy, terming the incident “maritime terrorism”, said on Saturday that the two tankers were attacked by pirates commanding five boats. Admiral Shahram Irani added that a group of army vessels that escorted the tankers, which included the Alborz destroyer, fended off the attack. “The attacking boats were forced to leave the scene and their offensive was repelled through the timely response of commandos” on board the vessels who shot at them, Irani said. According to Irani, the two unnamed tankers passed safely through the area, which is now secure. Iran’s navy has extended the reach of its escort operations in recent years in an effort to protect its ships from Somali pirate attacks. In June this year, two Iranian army vessels, the Makran and Sahand, began what became a journey that lasted more than four months. They sailed into the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, leading Washington to speculate they may be heading for Venezuela. They eventually reached Russia’s Saint Petersburg to take part in a joint navy exercise. The two domestically-built vessels arrived back in the Strait of Hormuz and ended their journey in Iranian waters in Bandar Abbas last month.