Iran inaugurates new naval base in Strait of Hormuz

Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy opens 5th base in Persian Gulf; outpost set to guard Iran's claim to islands disputed by UAE.

November 4, 2012 17:28
1 minute read.
Iranian military in the Strait of Hormuz

Iranian military in the Strait of Hormuz 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Fars News/Hamed Jafarnejad)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy inaugurated its fifth naval base in the Persian Gulf on Sunday in the southern port city of Bandar Lengeh on the Persian Gulf coast.

IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said that the new naval zone, named Imam Mohammed Baqer, will cover a region in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz encompassing several Persian Gulf islands, from Qeshm Island to the waters west of Kish Island, according to Fars News, which is closely affiliated to the IRGC.

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The area includes the Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands and Abu Musa, all three of which are part of a bitter sovereignty dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

Fadavi said the IRGC has deployed missile and marine units within the new zone, which will provide “operational coverage” for the islands within its operational range.

The IRGC naval commander also accused Britain of trying to incite what he said was a new “fitna,” or “sedition,” in the Persian Gulf, according to reports in Sepah News, the IRGC’s official public relations website and Mashregh News, which is closely affiliated to the IRGC.

Britain controlled Abu Musa and the Tunb islands after 1908 until it transferred their administration to Sharjah, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, in the 1960s. Iran stationed troops on the islands in 1971 and in 1992 asserted full control of the island.

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On Saturday, the UK’s Independent newspaper reported that the British government is expected to hold talks with senior officials in the Gulf after growing concerns in Saudi Arabia and the UAE that Iran could block the Strait of Hormuz.

Fadavi said the new naval unit would hamper what he described as “English fitna” in the Gulf.

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