Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the country’s Navy has taken steps to enhance its capabilities and will expand its presence in international waters in the future. “In the year 96 [new Iranian calendar year that begins on March 21), we will take greater strides to enhance the capabilities of the naval forces,” he said during a tour of Khoramshahr Naval Base in southwestern Iran earlier today. “We will increase our presence in international waters, expand the zone of our naval drills, increase the production of [naval] equipment, and pay more attention to training programs,” he added. Sayyari also claimed that Iranian naval assets are all domestically built, and that “the naval forces of Iran’s Artesh [regular army] are not dependent on any countries.” He further boasted the “Global Arrogance” – a term Iranian leaders use for the United States – has failed to prevent Iran from developing its military power.
Comment: The Islamic Republic has in recent years made it a priority to develop its naval capabilities, although its leaders often exaggerate the country’s progress in building advanced naval assets and expanding its naval forces’ presence in international waters. Sayyari also announced last month that the Iranian naval forces were making efforts to expand its presence and boost security in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Bab al-Mandeb. Furthermore, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan recently reiterated that his country should begin using nuclear technology “in the field of naval propulsion systems” in order to enhance the Iranian Navy’s “maneuvering power and capability.” And last year, the Iranian chief of staff of the armed forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, called for setting up naval bases in Yemen and Syria – triggering alarm among Sunni Gulf states.
Iran’s regularly Navy is separate from the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). According to U.S. officials, it is the I.R.G.C. Navy that usually engages in “unprofessional” and “irresponsible” actions in the Gulf region and repeatedly harasses U.S. warships stationed there.