Iran has equipped its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) naval forces with drones and 1,000-km (600-mile) range missiles, Reuters reported on 5 August, after the US announced plans to put US soldiers on commercial ships going through the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz.

Reuters noted that in a reference to the possible presence of US guards, Iranian armed forces spokesperson Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the region’s countries were “capable of ensuring Persian Gulf security” themselves.

“What do the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Indian Ocean have to do with America? What is your business being here?” Shekarchi said.

Iranian state news agency IRNA said the IRGC’s weapons include “various types of drones … and several hundred cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 300 to 1,000 km are among the systems and equipment that were added to the capabilities of the Guards’ navy today.”

“The cruise missiles can attack several targets simultaneously, and the commands can be altered after take-off,” IRCG Navy Chief Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri said.

According to semi-official Tasnim News Agency, the new military systems, which along with the missiles and drones, also included electronic warfare systems, were manufactured by the IRGC, the Iranian Defense Ministry, and domestic knowledge-based companies.

At the ceremony during which the equipment was handed over to the IRGC navy, Tangsiri also described the new weapons as a “major and effective step” in the expansion of the IRGC navy’s capabilities.

The move comes as Washington seeks to escalate tensions by expanding its military capabilities in the region. One-fifth of the world’s crude oil and oil products pass through the Strait of Hormuz, which provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean.

US officials recently deployed A-10 Thunderbolt II warplanes, multiple F-16 and F-35 fighter squadrons, the guided missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, the nuclear-powered USS Florida submarine, and three amphibious assault ships with thousands of troops onboard to the Persian Gulf.

The US offer to place US soldiers on commercial ships in the Persian Gulf comes after Iran seized several commercial ships and tankers accused of fuel smuggling and hit-and-run incidents. The Iranian seizures were themselves responses to Washington’s seizure of Iranian oil tankers under the pretext of enforcing sanctions against Tehran.

The situation has increased the danger of a military confrontation as the US seeks to cement its military presence in the region when a large portion of the Arab world is moving away from Washington’s sphere of influence.

Source » thecradle