The latest demonstration of Iranian navy forces comes after a drone exercise and the unveiling of a missile base by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian navy has officially integrated the country’s largest military vessel into its fleet in a maritime missile exercise at a time of heightened tensions with the United States over its nuclear program.
The locally-made advanced base ship IRIS Makran, which is said to be capable of carrying up to five helicopters, has joined the fleet with another ship capable of firing missiles.
The 228-meter (748-foot) long warship, previously an oil tanker, has been reassigned to provide logistics support, conduct search and rescue missions, deploy special forces, replenish and transport supplies, provide assistance medical and serve as a base for fast boats.
They will fire surface-to-surface cruise missiles into the sea, test submarine missiles, conduct special forces operations and deploy unmanned aerial vehicles as part of the two-day exercise in the sea. Oman.
“By organizing this exercise, we can assess our ability to respond to potential enemy threats in a timely manner and improve our performance by addressing weaknesses and strengthening our forces,” said Admiral Hamzeh Ali Kaviani, who acted as spokesperson for the exercise.
The United States and its regional allies, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, view Iran’s missile program as a security threat, fearing that Tehran will use its long-range missiles to transport nuclear warheads .
Underground missile base
The Iranian military also held its first-ever drone exercise in early January, in which it demonstrated and tested hundreds of locally manufactured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Last week, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled a massive underground missile base along the Persian Gulf coast, which it said was one of “many” such bases.
The show of military force comes amid continuing tensions with the United States days before hawkish President Donald Trump leaves the White House.
Tensions have been high since 2018, when Trump walked out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which put the brakes on Tehran’s nuclear program. Since then, the United States has announced tough sanctions crippling the Iranian economy.
The Trump administration has flown nuclear-capable strategic bombers in the Middle East four times in the past two months and sent its Navy aircraft carrier to the region, prompting Iran to warn Washington against the search for a pretext for war.
Earlier this month, Iran told the UN nuclear watchdog it plans to enrich uranium to 20% purity, prompting a strong backlash from the European Union – one of the signatories of the nuclear agreement.
Future President Joe Biden has vowed to reduce tensions and revitalize the nuclear deal.