A KILLER fleet of dolphins was purchased by Iran in 2000 after their Russian army trainers ran out of cash – and fish.
The marine mercenaries were trained by the Soviet Union to kill enemy frogmen and to attack US ships with mines in Kamikaze-style suicide missions.
The highly-intelligent animals were primed by the military to become expert soldiers, and could tell the difference between foreign ships by the sounds of their propellers.
Some were even trained to swim up to enemy boats with mines strapped to them, blowing holes in the ships – and themselves.
But funding for the Russian project ran out and the killer dolphins were taken into the care of their trainer, Boris Zhurid.
They performed for a short while at a dolphinarium in Russia, but Mr Zhurid soon ran out of cash and could no longer afford to feed the beasts – so he sold them to Iran.
The BBC reports: “In total, 27 animals, including walruses, sea lions, seals, and a white beluga whale, were loaded with the dolphins into a Russian transport aircraft for the journey from Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula, in the Black Sea, to the Persian Gulf. ”
At the time he told Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that he was “prepared to go to Allah, or even to the devil, as long as my animals will be OK there.”
And the soggy soldiers could still be alive and at Iran’s disposal.
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Dolphins have a lifespan of around 50, with reports dating the beginning of the mammal’s training as 1991, meaning they’ve got a few years in them yet.
It’s thought the killer dolphins were sold en-masse after funding collapsed and as well as Iran, could be lurking anywhere in the world.
In a newspaper report at the time, one Russian journalist wrote: “In essence, Iran has bought our former secret weapon from Ukraine on the cheap”.