Iranian Navy Commander Shahram Irani said Iran is looking to expand operations on the coast of the Makran region in the Sistan and Baluchistan province.
According to Irani, the navy and army want to focus on various fields such as fisheries and shipbuilding and providing facilities to repair ships. While these may be purely mundane discussions about improving Iran’s facilities along the coast, they could also be important, as this is the same area where Iran holds weapons – including drones – that have been used in naval drills.
Iran’s navy is currently conducting a circumnavigation of the world, sending ships to Brazil through the Panama Canal. Last year, Iran flew drones from the port of Chabahar to attack a ship in the Gulf of Oman. It also attacked a ship in July 2021.
In addition, Iran uses boats disguised as fishing boats and other types of commercial craft to smuggle weapons to the Iran-backed Houthi group in Yemen. The United States Navy has successfully interdicted this smuggling effort in recent years.
The Iranian media report about the investment in shipbuilding was short, yet it indicates the interest that Irani has in the region. Irani said he has been in touch with local authorities and said Iran’s navy maintains good coordination with local groups and various development projects.
He told reporters, “The reason for our stronger presence is that the friends of the Makran Coastal Development Headquarters are only active in the headquarters and policy-making areas, but we, as a navy, are active in policy-making and are also present in the implementation area due to our presence on the coasts.”
Iran wants to use the capacity of the region to extend its power.