Posts Tagged ‘Iranian Navy’

Iran Says It Warned Off US Ship — U.S. Navy issues denial

September 10, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran says it warned off a U.S. Navy warship during a rescue of a boat in the Gulf of Oman, while American officials say there was no direct contact.

The U.S. Navy said Sunday the incident happened Wednesday and involved a small vessel some 75 nautical miles from the USS Tempest, a coastal patrol boat. The Navy says another boat much closer offered assistance, with that vessel communicating with Iranian naval forces.

Iran offered a different version of the incident. Press TV, the English-language arm of its state broadcaster, said Sunday that the Iranian navy “warned off an American warship” while rescuing the stranded dhow, a traditional ship.

The U.S. and Iran routinely have tense encounters in the Persian Gulf.

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Iran Increases Warfighting Capability With 3 New Bases in Persian Gulf & Gulf of Oman

November 22, 2016

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Iran navy file photo. Credit Davoud Poorsehat, IRNA

 Iran is increasing its naval capabilities in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and has begun construction of three naval bases in the region to protect its trade and security.
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“We are building two naval zones and three naval bases on Makran coasts, and this is in line with our policy of making a return to the sea,” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday, as quoted by Tehran Times.
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Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari
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Developing naval capabilities on the Makran coast has been one of Iran’s top priorities since 2014, when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called for the country to secure the region.
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Iran hopes the new naval initiatives will offer merchant vessels more security from pirates, especially after Somalis hijacked an Iranian cargo ship bound for Yemen in November 2008.
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So far this year, Iranian ships have provided safe passage to 3,844 trade ships and tankers threatened by pirates, Sayyari said.The admiral also said that the naval bases will provide more security as tensions in the region with the US have been on the rise.
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Currently, Iranian vessels cover an area of 2,100,000 m2, according to Sayyari, with more than 44 flotillas of warships operating in the Gulf of Oman, the Caspian Sea, and the Indian Ocean.
.US Navy patrol boat USS Firebolt. © US Navy

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US military ship forced to change course after ‘harassment’ from Iranian vessel – report
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The Iranian Navy will continue beefing up its operational capability by upgrading its existing fleet, and through the introduction of indigenous vessels and equipment, the admiral added.
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“We need no foreign help to provide us with our equipment, and are a power in the fields of torpedoes and missiles now,” Sayyari said, adding that the navy will soon be equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, sea-based drones, and Low Probability of Intercept radars.
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to Major general Qasem Soleimani , who has been head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and has participated in ground warfare in several nations
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The construction announcement on Monday follows a number of tense encounters between the US and Iranian navies in the region.

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In the latest reported incident in September, seven Iranian fast-attack boats had an “unsafe encounter” with the USS Firebolt.

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There have been 31 encounters involving Iranian and US vessels in the Persian Gulf so far this year, up from 23 last year.Bilateral encounters in the region intensified after Iran detained 10 US sailors earlier this year as they entered Iranian waters near the Farsi Islands on two military boats.

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The US claimed the incident was due to mechanical failure, with Iran later releasing all of the US servicemen.

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Source: https://www.rt.com/news/367762-iran-constructs-naval-bases/
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Iran continues a robust ballistic missile program. Iran missile launch Farsnews on March 9, 2016. Reuters
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U.S. Navy sailors held by Iran, January 2016

Why Iran is ‘playing with fire’ in the Persian Gulf against US Navy ships — Latest incident with USS Firebolt

September 7, 2016

By Alex Lockie
Business Insider

For the fifth time in about a month, Iranian fast-attack craft have harassed US Navy ships with “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuvers at sea in the gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran.While experts acknowledge that Iran is “playing with fire” against the best navy in the world, don’t expect these incidents to stop anytime soon.
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“The number of unsafe, unprofessional interactions for first half of the year is nearly twice as much as same period in 2015, trend has continued. There’s already more in 2016 than all of 2015,” Commander Bill Urban of the Navy’s 5th Fleet told Business Insider in a phone interview.
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Urban stressed that despite the Iranian navy fast-attack craft being several orders of magnitude less potent than US Navy ships, the threat they pose in the gulf is very real.”Any time another vessel is charging in on one of your ships and they’re not talking on the radio … you don’t know what their intentions are,” said Urban.
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Urban confirmed that Iran sends small, fast attack ships to “swarm” and “harass” larger US Naval vessels that could quite easily put them at the bottom of the ocean, but the ships pose a threat beyond firepower.According to Urban, these ships are “certainly armed vessels with crew-manned weapons, not unarmed ships. I wouldn’t discount the ability to be a danger. A collision at sea even with a much larger ship is always something that could cause damage to a ship or injure personnel.”
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The fast patrol boat USS Firebolt in company with HMS Dragon

In the most recent episode at sea, Urban said that an Iranian craft swerved in front of the USS Firebolt, a US Coastal Patrol craft, and stopped dead in its path, causing the Firebolt to have to adjust course or risk collision.

“This kind of provocative, harassing technique risks escalation and miscalculation,” Urban added.

The messages Iran wants to send

sailors iranA still from a video shows US Sailors captured by Iranian fast-attack craft in the Gulf. Sepahnews via AP

“In my view, [Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic] Khamenei decided it’s time to send a message: I’m here and I’m unhappy,” Cliff Kupchan, chairman of Eurasia Group and an expert on Iran, told Business Insider in a phone interview.

According to Kupchan, the Iranian navy carries out these stunts under directions straight from the top because of frustrations with the Iran nuclear deal. Despite billions of dollars in sanction relief flowing into Iran following the deal, Kupchan says Iran sees the US as “preventing European and Asian banks from moving into Iran and financing Iranian businesses,” and therefore not holding up their end of the Iran nuclear deal.

But despite their perception that the US has under delivered on the promises of the Iran nuclear deal, Kupchan says Iran will absolutely not walk away from the deal, which has greatly improved their international standing and financial prospects.

The lifting of sanctions on Iran’s oil has resulted in “billions in additional revenue … they’re not gonna walk away from that.”

So Iran seems to be simply spinning its wheels to score political points with hardliners, but what if the worst happens and there’s a miscalculation in a conflict between Iranian and US naval vessels resulting in the loss of life?

USS SquallThe coastal patrol ship USS Squall, one of the ships harassed by the Iranians. MC1 Michelle Turner

“The concern is miscalculation,” Kupchan said. “Some guy misjudges the speed of his boat, people could die. There is a lot on the line.” According to Kupchan and other experts, Iran’s navy doesn’t stand a serious chance against modern US Navy ships.

“Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian Navy are not very capable or modern,” Kupchan said.

The fast-attack craft we’ve seen challenge US Navy boats have simply been older speedboats, some Russian-made, outfitted with guns.

The Iranian craft can certainly bother US Navy ships by risking collisions and functioning as “heavily armed gnats, or mosquitoes” that swarm US ships, but a recent test carried out by the Navy confirms that the gunships wouldn’t have much trouble knocking them out of the water. The ensuing international incident, however, would dominate headlines for weeks.

A military truck carrying a missile and a picture of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen during a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

A military truck carrying a missile and a picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran. Thomson Reuters

“The wood is dry in US and Iranian relations,” said Kupchan, suggesting that a small miscalculation could spark a major fire, and that harassing these ships is “one of the ways the Iranian political system lets off steam.”

“Hardliners on both sides would go nuts,” said Kupchan, referencing both the conservative Islamist Iranians and the conservative US hawks who would not pass up any opportunity to impinge Obama over his perceived weakness against the Iranians.

Yet Kupchan contends that even a lethal incident would not end the deal. Both sides simply have too much riding on the deal’s success: Obama with his foreign-policy legacy and Iran with its financial redemption and status in the region as the main adversary to Western powers.

RTR2VQX9Iranian military personnel watch over the Strait of Hormuz, which they have threatened, though not credibly, to close off to US forces. REUTERS/Fars News/Hamed Jafarnejad

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But Iran’s Khamenei may be sending a second message to incoming US leadership, specifically Hillary Clinton, who seems likely to be the next commander-in-chief.
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“They know Clinton is tough,” said Kupchan, and Khamenei may be addressing Clinton with a second message, saying, “Madame Secretary, I’m still here. I know you’re tough, but I’m ready.”For now, Kupchan expects these incidents at sea to carry on as Iran vents about its larger frustrations and that a violent exchange would “not be the end of the deal” or the start of a larger war “but a serious international incident.”
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http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-playing-with-fire-in-persian-gulf-2016-9SEE ALSO: US Navy ship fires warning shots after multiple ships ‘harassed’ by Iranian attack craft

NOW WATCH: Obama said the White House previously announced the $400 million payment to Iran — here’s the footage

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  (USS Nitze encounter with Iranian boats)

  (USS Nitze encounter with Iranian boats)

Iran, India to stage maritime maneuver in Indian Ocean

February 28, 2016

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Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari
News ID: 3565754 – Thu 25 February 2016 – 19:37

TEHRAN, Feb. 25 (MNA) – Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari told the reporters that Iran’s navy would have joint short term maneuvers with Indian navy before expanding tactical cooperation.

The 38th flotilla of the Iranian Navy is currently in Tanzanian waters and intends to dock at the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam in the next couple of days, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the reporters on the sidelines of his meeting with an Indian Navy delegation on Thursday in Tehran.

Touching upon the importance of the Indian Ocean for Iran and the whole world, the Rear Admiral announced that Iran would not allow insecurity in the waters.

We can boost our combat capability to that stage that no threat would be out of our control, noted the Iranian commander.

About the talks he had with the Indian delegation, Sayyari told the press that there would be a great deal of cooperation between Iranian and Indian Navies, and keeping the security in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean is one of them.

An Indian flotilla will berth in Iran’s port city of Bandar Abbas in late April or early May, the Iranian commander said talking about the plans to let flotillas of both countries be in touch.

He affirmed that before establishing long-lasting tactical cooperation, maneuvers and rescue operations, some short drills will be held jointly.

http://en.mehrnews.com/news/114749/Iran-India-to-stage-maritime-maneuver-in-Indian-Ocean

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US accuses Iran of conducting rocket test near warships

December 30, 2015

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The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman in the Gulf of Oman. Photo credit Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. M. Tolbert/ U.S. Navy via AP

LONDON — An Iranian naval vessel fired several rockets close to an American aircraft carrier and destroyer and a French frigate in the Strait of Hormuz, the United States Navy confirmed on Wednesday, calling the action “highly provocative.”

The rockets came within 1,500 yards of the aircraft carrier’s right-hand side, but they were not fired in the direction of military and commercial vessels, Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the United States Fifth Fleet, said in a statement.

“Firing weapons so close to passing coalition ships and commercial traffic within an internationally recognized maritime traffic lane is unsafe, unprofessional and inconsistent with international maritime law,” Commander Stephens said.

The military action, which occurred on Saturday, was first reported by NBC News on Tuesday.

The rockets came close to commercial traffic and three vessels — the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, the destroyer Bulkeley and the French frigate Provence — that are part of a military coalition fighting the Islamic State, Commander Stephens said.

Iranian officials declined to comment publicly, but the semiofficial Tabnak news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying that the rockets had been fired to warn the Truman away from “a forbidden zone” in the Persian Gulf in keeping with “normal procedure.”

Tabnak said that Western news reports about the episode were an attempt to “undermine Iran’s capability to provide regional marine safety.”

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most strategically important passageways, in particular for the global oil supply chain, connecting the Persian Gulf to the open sea.

To protect its considerable interests there, the United States deployed warships to the area to defend American vessels in April after Iran seized a cargo ship owned by the Danish company Maersk that was traversing the strait.

The two countries quickly backed away from a possible military confrontation, which occurred amid the delicate negotiations over the nuclear accord that was reached in July between Iran and six major world powers, including the United States and the European Union.

In recent weeks, however, tensions between the United States and Iran have risen. Congress recently adopted restrictions barring foreigners who have visited Iran from entering the United States under a visa-waiver program; lawmakers said the steps were a response to terrorism, but Iranian leaders, eager to expand commercial links after years of sanctions, criticized the move.

For its part, Iran has tested a long-range guided ballistic missile, escalated its cyberespionage program against the United States, and cracked down on journalists, activists and opposition figures.

The navy of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has long focused on what it calls “asymmetric warfare” in the Strait of Hormuz, a combination of fast boats and missiles to challenge the larger vessels of adversaries.

“Americans have entered the Persian Gulf with their entire military might, but Iran’s fast-patrol boats have authority over them,” an Iranian naval commander, Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, was quoted as saying by the Islamic Student News Agency on Monday.

Commander Stephens said that Iranian forces suddenly announced a “live-fire exercise” on Saturday before firing the rockets 23 minutes later, from within internationally recognized maritime traffic lanes and within the territorial waters of Oman, he said.

Iran had not announced any military exercises for Saturday, although its navy conducted a joint search-and-rescue exercise with Oman three days earlier.

“U.S. Navy forces are committed to ensuring the safe and free navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and throughout the region by maintaining a strong presence,” Commander Stephens said. “While most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons.”

Navy Seahawk helicopters from the Harry S. Truman kept a close eye on the Iranian vessels during the event, he said.

Commander Stephens said the live fire represented the third time in a little over a year that small Iranian boats had launched rockets “within visual range” of a United States aircraft carrier strike group.

On Oct. 20, 2014, several unguided rockets were launched almost 10 miles from the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush. On the night of April 15 this year, 11 unguided missiles were fired almost six miles from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

Hamid Reza Taraghi, an analyst close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the rocket launch “a minor warning.” Mr. Taraghi has long expressed the view that the nuclear deal did not signal a transformation of the long-strained relations between the United States and Iran.

“The Americans are acting against the Revolutionary Guards Corps in Syria and Iraq, and they are planning to designate the Corps as a terrorist organization,” he said in a phone interview. “This way, there is no reason to think the relations will improve.”

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Iranian rocket came within 1,500 yards of USS Harry S Truman in the Strait of Hormuz

December 29, 2015

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman came about 1,500 yards from an Iranian rocket in the Strait of Hormuz last week, two U.S. military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

As the Truman was transiting the strait, which connects the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards conducted a live-fire exercise right near the U.S. carrier Saturday, officials said.

A U.S. military official said an Iranian navy fast and short attack craft began conducting a live-fire exercise at the same time the carrier was nearing the end of the strait, firing off several unguided rockets. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Buckley and other commercial traffic were also in the area.

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman in April 2014. 

The official said the U.S. ships were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, not in any territorial waters, when the Iranian navy announced over maritime radio that it was about to conduct a live-fire exercise and asked other vessels to remain clear.

After the warning, the rockets were fired from a position about 1,500 yards off the carrier’s starboard side and in a direction away from passing coalition and commercial ships and the traffic lane, the official said. The rockets were not fired at the Truman and other ships, only near them.

While the official said the Iranians were “clearly not” targeting ships, the action was “unnecessarily provocative and unsafe.”

There were no direct communications between US and Iranian navies.

Coalition forces continued transiting without any further incident, the official said, adding that the Truman is now in the Gulf and launching aircraft in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Iran launches a rocket from a small naval vessel in the Persian Gulf

Chinese Navy Flotilla in Iran For Joint Naval Exercises in the Persian Gulf

September 22, 2014

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Two Chinese destroyers have arrived at Iran’s Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, in an unprecedented visit attesting to a new rapprochement between the two countries, Iranian media reported Sunday.

The four-day visit is the first time a Chinese naval vessel has called at a port in the Islamic republic, across the Gulf from Bahrain where the US Fifth Fleet is based.

The two navies will conduct joint search and rescue exercises and training for maritime accidents, according to Admiral Hossein Azad, a senior commander of the Iranian navy, quoted by media.

Iran’s navy has boosted its international presence over the past few years, in particular to help guard commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden against pirate attacks.

Ships from Iran’s navy have called at Chinese ports in the past.

Iran and China have greatly enhanced their trade and economic relations in recent years.

China has become Iran’s largest trading partner.

Trade between them is this year expected to exceed $45 billion, despite the economic and banking sanctions against Iran because of its controversial nuclear programme.

China is among so-called P5+1 states (the United States, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany) negotiating with Tehran in the hope of ending more than a decade of crisis over the nuclear issue.

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Changchun destroyer of the 17th Chinese escort naval fleet arrives at southern port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Sept. 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior provincial official hailed the satisfactory cooperation between the Iranian and Chinese navies as a sign of growing solidarity between the two nations.

“The presence of a Chinese navy flotilla in Iran’s Southern port of Bandar Abbas is indicative of solidarity between the two nations and armies,” Hormuzgan Governor General Jassem Jadari said in a meeting with the commanders and crew members of the Chinese navy flotilla in Bandar Abbas on Sunday.

Chinese naval soldiers play music as they arrive at southern port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Sept. 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

He noted that Iran and China have closely cooperated in combat against pirates in the high seas in recent years, and said, “Hormuzgan province is of particular importance due to its strategic status and its location near the Strait of Hormuz and also the presence of flotillas of different countries in there.”

The commander of the Chinese flotilla, for his part, said that his warships berthed at Bandar Abbas at the end of their mission for protecting trade ships against pirate attacks in a move to consolidate the friendly ties between the Chinese and Iranian nations and navies.

A detachment of China’s fleet of warships docked in Iran’s territorial waters in Bandar Abbas on Saturday.

Commander of the 17th Chinese escort naval fleet Huang Xinjian (R front) shakes hands with an Iranian navy officer in southern port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Sept. 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

It is the first time that a Chinese flotilla has sailed and berthed in Iran’s territorial waters.

An Iranian flotilla was in the Sea of China last year to deliver Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the Chinese.

In May, 2013, the Iranian warships docked in Zhangjiagang after a 13,000-kilometer voyage in 40 days as part of their mission to convey Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the East Asian states.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said then that presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans and the China Sea, patrolling Southeast Asia’s strategic Strait of Malacca, crossing the Equator, docking at China’s port city of Zhangjiagang port and identifying 370 surface and subsurface vessel units were among the important tasks carried out by the fleet.

 The visit by the Chinese Navy ships also came a few days after the timely presence and action of the Iranian Navy’s 31st Flotilla thwarted an attack by eight pirate speed boats, equipped with various light and semi-heavy weapons, on a Chinese container-carrier ship in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, and forced the pirates to flee the scene.

The Chinese ship was traveling en route from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before it came under pirates’ attack.

The Chinese ship continued its voyage after it was rescued by the Iranian Navy.

The 31st Fleet of the Iranian Navy, comprised of Bayandor destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship, was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden and the high seas late July to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.

The fleet of warships has escorted 670 military and cargo ships by now and has identified and traced trans-regional vessels and aircraft.

Iran’s 30th flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and returned home in July.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

Changchun destroyer of the 17th Chinese escort naval fleet arrives at southern port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Sept. 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

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From The New York Times

TEHRAN — Two Chinese warships have docked at Iran’s principal naval port for the first time in history, Iranian admirals told state television on Sunday, adding that both countries would conduct four days of joint naval exercises.

On Sunday, Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported that Chinese Navy ships involved in protecting shipping in the Gulf of Aden stopped at an Iranian port on Saturday for a “friendly visit.” One of the vessels was the Changchun, a guided-missile destroyer, the report said.

The news agency posted images of one of the destroyers docking in the port of Bandar Abbas, where it was given a military welcome.

The Iranian and Chinese Navies were scheduled to start joint exercises on Monday, focusing on rescue missions, Iranian news media reported. China has been expanding the areas where its navy operates, most recently joining the effort to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

Read the rest:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/world/middleeast/china-and-iran-to-conduct-joint-naval-exercises-in-the-persian-gulf.html?_r=0

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PLA’s new destroyer could bring down F-35 stealth fighter

The US fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter can be detected by the radar system installed aboard the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s new Type 052D destroyers, according to the Moscow-based Voice of Russia, citing military experts.

Vladimir Evseev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Social and Political Studies, told the Russian broadcaster that details of China’s radar project, including the amount spent on its development, remain unknown, however it is a great leap forward in regards to the nation’s military modernization program.

China has encountered a lot of obstacles in its attempts to develop its own radar system, but it has managed to overcome these issues with Russian help, Voice of Russia said, citing Konstantin Sivkov, director of the Russian Academy for Geopolitical Issues.

Sivkov said that the most crucial part of China’s success is that the PLA Navy finally knows how to handle active electronically scanned array radar systems. With this technology, Chinese destroyers are able to track and shoot down F-35 fighters from a distance of 350 kilometers.

Meanwhile, Pavel Zolotaryov, deputy head of Institute for USA and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that the Chinese warship not only has the ability to locate the US stealth fighter but can also deploy countermeasures against the fighter’s electronic interference capability.

The new system will gradually increase the combat capability of the PLA Navy in Western Pacific region, Voice of Russia said.

Source : Want China Times

Iran Navy Admiral: “U.S. aircraft carriers are our number one target. An easy target.”

May 6, 2014

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Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf should a war between the two countries ever break out, the naval chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday as the country completes work on a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier.

The remarks by Adm. Ali Fadavi, who heads the hard-line Guard’s naval forces, were a marked contrast to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s recent outreach policies toward the West — a reminder of the competing viewpoints that exist at the highest levels within the Islamic Republic.

Iran is building a simple replica of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in order to be used in future military exercises, an Iranian newspaper confirmed last month.

Fadavi was quoted Tuesday by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying the big size of the U.S. carriers makes them an “easy target.” He said contingency plans to target American carriers are a priority for the Guard’s navy.

USS George Washington flight deck

“Aircraft carriers are the symbol of America’s military might,” he said. “The carriers are responsible for supplying America’s air power. So, it’s natural that we want to sink the carriers.”

The Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces are separate from the main Iranian navy. They are primarily based in and around the Gulf and include a number of missile boats and fast-attack vessels.

The commander said the Guard navy has already carried out exercises targeting mock-ups of American warships. In one case, he said, it took 50 seconds to destroy one of the simulated warships.

Tasnim, another semi-official news agency close to the Guard, reported that “an investigation” has found that the Nimitz-class carriers used by the U.S. could be seriously damaged or destroyed if 24 missiles were fired simultaneously.

An American Navy official in the Gulf was dismissive of the Iranian claims, and of the simulated carrier in particular.

“Whatever Iran hopes to do with the mock up, it is likely to have zero impact on U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf,” said Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based across the Gulf in the nation of Bahrain.

“Firing weapons at a stationary structure floating on pontoons is not a realistic representation of having the capability to target a 100,000-ton warship … maneuvering at speeds in excess of 30 knots,” he said.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier

Iran’s military leaders believe future wars will be air- and sea-based. Tehran has sought to upgrade its missile and air defense systems, as well as its naval forces in anticipation of such a possibility.

Fadavi, however, said the Guard’s navy is in “daily” contact with passing American warships in the Persian Gulf. American naval forces in the region have said they routinely monitor Iranian naval operations and are in regular contact with them.

“At the Guard Navy Command Control Center, we talk to Americans on a daily basis. This has been going on for years,” Fadavi said.

Fadavi said Americans have formally demanded a hotline to contact Iranians in case of emergency but the Guard has turned down the request.

“Nothing (bad) will happen if they leave (the region),” he said.

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Associated Press writer Adam Schreck contributed reporting from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Iran has an extensive missile development program.

Iran Marks 35th anniversary of the 1979 revolution — Sends its navy to the “maritime borders of the U.S.”

February 8, 2014

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URGENT: Iran Sends Warships to US Maritime Borders
TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian Navy commanders announced on Saturday that the country has sent several fleets of warships to the US maritime borders.

“The Iranian Army’s naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,” Commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad announced on Saturday.

The admiral, who is also the commander of the Iranian Army’s 4th Naval Zone said, “Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message.”

In September 2012, Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari reiterated Iran’s plans for sailing off the US coasts to counter the US presence in its waters in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Navy Commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari.

Iran Navy commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari.

Sayyari had earlier informed of Tehran’s plans to send its naval forces to the Atlantic to deploy along the US marine borders, and in September 2012 he said that this would happen “in the next few years”.

The plan is part of Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf. The US Navy’s 5th fleet is based in Bahrain – across the Persian Gulf from Iran – and the US has conducted two major maritime war games in the last two years.

In September 2011, Sayyari had announced that the country planned to move vessels into the Atlantic Ocean to start a naval buildup “near maritime borders of the United States”.

“Like the arrogant powers that are present near our maritime borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders,” Sayyari said.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of the start of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, Sayyari gave no details of when such a deployment could happen or the number or type of vessels to be used.

Sayyari had first announced in July, 2011 that Iran was going to send “a flotilla into the Atlantic”.

The Iranian navy has been developing its presence in international waters since 2010, regularly launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates operating in the area.

Related:

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From the Guardian

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Saturday the United States would overthrow the Iranian government if it could, adding that Washington had a “controlling and meddlesome” attitude towards the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported.

Also on Saturday, a senior Iranian naval commander said his country had sent several warships to the Atlantic Ocean, close to US maritime borders for the first time. The commander of Iran’s Northern navy fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying the vessels had begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

In a speech to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Khamenei was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying: “American officials publicly say they do not seek regime change in Iran. That’s a lie. They wouldn’t hesitate a moment if they could do it.”

Khamenei made no mention of talks between Iran and world powers which are intended to settle a decade-old dispute about Iran’s nuclear programme, although he has given his guarded support to negotiations being led by the reformist government of President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it is Israel’s assumed atomic arsenal that threatens peace. Western powers suspect that the programme is a cover for pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

On Friday, as a team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Tehran, the state IRNA news agency cited the Iranian atomic energy organisation spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as saying his country was ready to answer all questions raised by the UN agency.

The US and its allies are pushing the IAEA for progress. At the same time, too much pressure on Iran could damage the chances of success from the talks.

Those talks are off to a promising start, with both sides planning to meet on 18 February, to try to translate an interim deal into a permanent agreement. But Olli Heinonen, who formerly headed the IAEA’s Iran investigation, has said that with distrust still high on both sides a final deal will be sealed “only if uncertainties over Iran’s military nuclear capability are properly addressed”.

Iran has denied any interest in or work on nuclear weapons since the IAEA started to focus on its atomic activities. Attempts to investigate the alleged weapons programme first launched in 2007 have made little progress.

On Saturday, Khamenei reiterated that in dealing with “enemies”, Iran should be prepared to change tactics but not compromise on its main principles. He said: “The solution to our economic problems is not looking out and having the sanctions lifted … my advice to our officials, as ever, is to rely on infinite indigenous potentials.”

He added: “Our [hostile] stance toward the United States is due to its controlling and meddlesome attitude.”

The US is seen as the arch-enemy by Iranian authorities. The US and Iran have had no official ties since 1980, after Iranian students occupied the US embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage in protest against Washington’s admission of the former Shah after he was toppled by the Islamic revolution.

Iran Sends Flotilla of Warships to Atlantic Ocean

January 21, 2014
Iran Sends Flotilla of Warships to Atlantic Ocean
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TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Navy dispatched its first fleet of warships to the Atlantic Ocean in a ceremony participated by Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari and his deputy Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi in Southern Iran on Tuesday.

The flotilla, which is the first dispatched to the Atlantic, but the 29th one dispatched to the international waters, consists of Khark logistic and helicopter-carrier warship and Sabalan destroyer. The warships should sail 25,000 nautical kilometers in the next three months.

Addressing Iranian commanders, Navy personnel, sailors and crews in a ceremony to bid farewell to the flotilla, Admiral Moussavi said Iran has a message of peace and friendship for the world states and seeks to show its defensive power to the world by sending its fleets of warships to the international waters.

In December another senior Iranian commander announced the country’s plans to deploy warships in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The previous flotillas of warships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea and passed the Suez Channel and even sailed through the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea,” Commander of the Navy’s Fourth Naval Zone Admiral Afshin Rezayee told FNA last month.

“Now we intend to enter the Atlantic Ocean and this will be materialized after dispatch of the next flotillas of warships,” he added.

In relevant remarks in November, Sayyari said that Iran plans to dispatch its next flotilla of warships to the high seas in early 2014 to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks.

“The Navy’s next flotilla will be dispatched to either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic on January 21-Feb 20,” he said.

He underlined that the Navy’s flotilla will pass through the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Atlantic Ocean.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

Admiral Mahmoud Moussavi