Iran to up naval presence in Gulf

Iran to strengthen Revol

A US Intelligence report on Iran published last week disclosed that the Islamic republic was reinforcing its naval presence in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, various sources reported on Monday. The reports highlighted the growing divergence between Iran's Shah-era navy, the IRIN, and the more modern, better equipped Revolutionary Guard navy - the IRGCN, favored by the country's leadership as a key security force. "Public statements by Iranian leaders indicate that they would consider closing or controlling the Strait of Hormuz if provoked," said the report, adding that although they were due to undergo an overhaul, Iran's naval forces were adequately "equipped to defend against perceived external threats." The report also outlined Iran's movement toward guerrilla, irregular and asymmetrical warfare on the naval front. After the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the Islamic republic decided to forsake traditional sea combat for hit-and-run attacks utilizing "surprise, speed, maneuverability and deception," possibly having realized "the consequences of technological inferiority," it said. The report quoted a Revolutionary Guard commander as saying that if attacked, Iran would "work on all the weaknesses of the enemy" while maximizing its "usage of our capabilities." Iran's military, said the report, was a major component in the country's "continuing interest in self-sufficiency." Being deeply rooted in the Islamic Revolution, the IRGCN and Teheran's naval strategy were said by the report to be influenced by "a culture of jihad and martyrdom," which gives fighters "extra motivation, similar to the concept of patriotism." "Iranian military leaders often publicly tout the moral superiority" of the country's fighting forces, according to the report. It is estimated that the IRGCN currently possesses anti-ship cruise missiles such as the C-802 - one of which hit the INS Hanit during the Second Lebanon War - as well as attack submarines, patrol boats, rocket launchers, missile boats, torpedoes, mines, SAM systems, surface-air artillery and other armaments, mostly produced in China and Russia.