Admiral Shahram Irani, the head of the Iranian navy, paid a visit to the Kurdish region of Iran, from where he hails. He was in Sanandaj, according to Iranian reports, where he spoke on a TV program and held other meetings.
Irani highlighted the navy’s recent successes and also told Kurdish Iranian youth to be encouraged by these recent successes. Iran’s Kurdish community has been sidelined by the regime at times and there are many Kurdish dissident groups that Iran has contended with.
However, unlike in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, the Kurds in Iran have not faced genocide and attempts to erase their identity or deny them citizenship. “It is necessary for the people of Iran and the province of Kurdistan to know that we have been encouraged many times through international organizations to take some helpful action,” the Iranian admiral said, according to reports at Fars News and Tasnim news in Iran.
The Iranian commander said that Iran’s navy has been helpful in rescuing people at sea. He also highlighted the navy’s diversity, noting that those who serve in the navy come from many ethnic groups in Iran.
“Our daily effort and strategy are to be able to hold our country’s flag in the best possible way and with high authority,” he said.
Iran wants to expand and modernize its navy. However, the navy also lacks resources because of competition from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has its own naval units in Iraq. In recent years, the navy saw setbacks, such as a fire that sank one of its largest ships.
This year, the navy sent two ships on a long voyage to Russia to showcase Iran’s abilities. The naval commander “further called on the youth of Kurdistan, academics and scientists to step into this field and follow in their footsteps by gaining knowledge and awareness, because the space and platform for this are ready,” the report said. The commander noted that the recent naval mission to Russia covered some 45,000 km.
“I am very happy to be back in my hometown today,” Irani said in an interview with members of the media. “I kiss the hands of each and every one of the dear people of Kurdistan.” This shows how Iran’s naval commander is able to emphasize his Kurdish background. This is in contrast to some nationalist media in Iraq, Turkey and Syria which often promote anti-Kurdish views.
Iran wants to use its navy to build stronger relations with countries like China and Russia. Although it is no match for the US Navy, Iran has frequently used it to show that it can threaten its enemies. Recent tensions with Israel, for instance, led Tehran to carry out attacks on commercial shipping. These attacks are often led by the IRGC, as opposed to Iran’s regular naval units.
Source » jpost