By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. Iran is getting prepared to operate against Israeli and Gulf targets if the negotiations with the US on a new nuclear deal fail. The new elected president of Iran is an extremist and according to Israeli sources may act with force if the talks do not end in a way that is expected by Teheran.
Vice Admiral (Retd) Eliezer Marom, former commander of the Israeli navy said that the Iranian warships and submarines do not pose real threat. “The only real threat is the Iranian navy unit that operates special speed boats with short range missiles.”
Marom added that the small Iranian made mini submarines are also a threat to neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia. “Such a mini submarine can penetrate a port and cause damage.”
Rear Admiral (Retd) Noam Feig, former chief of naval operations of the Israeli navy pointed to the same threat. He said that the only real threat is the Iranian swarms of speed boats carrying launchers of short range missiles. “The Iranians have this capability and the intention to use it. This has to be taken in account in every risk calculation.”
In the meantime, Iran is expanding its naval force with ships that have sailed to the Atlantic ocean and with the training of more combat divers equipped with the latest versions of underwater systems. According to Israeli Channel 12 TV, as many as ten Iranian navy commando fighters have received military training in Malta. The channel claimed that ten Iranian divers were trained a few months ago at a famous diving club in Malta using “closed circuit diving systems or scuba” also known as self-contained breathing apparatus systems which allow them to stay underwater for six consecutive hours without being exposed. The channel said the Iranians are believed to have chosen Malta as a training site due to its proximity to Italy, which is developing modern diving systems and accessibility. The Iranian unit’s fighters recently participated in several attacks against Israeli-owned ships, in addition to confrontations with American and British warships in the Gulf.
Iran and Israel have in recent months attacked each other’s commercial cargo ships and oil tankers in the Gulf region and the Indian Ocean. According to Iranian FARS news agency, the Iranian navy’s unit comprising Sahand destroyer and Makran ship has set off for the Atlantic Ocean for the first time without mooring in other countries’ ports.”
Rear Admiral Sayyari from the Iranian navy was quoted by the agency as saying, “This powerful presence indicates the naval capability and authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He added that the Iranian presence in international waters is the right of the Navy.
“The 77th strategic naval fleet of the Navy, comprising of Sahand destroyer and Makran ship, is present in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time to demonstrate the capabilities of Iran in the maritime arena,” the commander noted. He said that the two ships departed from Bandar Abbas on May 10 and after a long journey after thirty days is currently in the Atlantic Ocean. He stressed that the presence of the Iranian naval fleets in high seas is done under international maritime rules. Sayyari emphasized that the mission of the strategic Navy of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to defend the water borders and protect the resources and interests of the country in high seas.
In relevant remarks in February, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said that deployment of the country’s warships in international waters has foiled enemies’ plots to foment insecurity in high waters. “The enemy intended to close all the ports to Iran first and then make seas and marines paths insecure for Iranian freighters and tankers, which was neutralized with timely presence of the Iranian Army Navy,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi said.
The Iranian navy commander said that the Navy is now present in the Red Sea powerfully and escorts Iranian oil tankers, threatened by proxy terror groups, and gives them safe passage through the Bab al-Mandab Strait toward the Red Sea.
Also in relevant remarks on June 8, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri underlined his forces’ preparedness to safeguard Iran’s interests in the Persian Gulf and international waters.
The US and Israel are monitoring the actions of the Iranian navy in the Gulf in order to protect American and Israeli owned cargo ships. Some Israeli cargo ships have been attacked in recent weeks.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of the publication. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda