The head of the Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, said that forces under his control, which are “equipped with advanced military systems” are proving to be a “powerful presence in the international waters” of the African continent. Calling the capabilities of the Iranian navy “state-of-the-art”, Sayyari again announced that “Iran plans to expand [its] naval presence in international waters.”

While there is little doubt that Iran’s most successful advances in the realm of military affairs have been in “asymmetric warfare” and forming proxies that it can deploy as part of its operations, the building up of the country’s conventional naval forces continues also to be a priority. Iran’s naval capabilities are still miniscule compared to large naval forces such as those from the United States, Iran’s main adversary in the Middle East. However, the top military brass in Iran views a stronger presence, even a symbolic one, in international waters to be a must-have for any state that aspires to be a global player, which is Tehran’s ambition.