A new generation of Ghadir midget submarines and Fateh submarines will be made for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ navy, Iran said Monday.
Tehran also slammed the “illegal presence of the US in Syria” in statements by Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Monday at a weekly briefing.
Iran made many comments about the Mideast region. It boasted of working on improving ties with Bahrain and Egypt and slammed continued US sanctions.
The Iranian navy is historically quite small, but Iran does operate several submarines. Iran has several Russian submarines it has used since the 1990s, according to naval expert H. I Sutton. Iran also constructed midget submarines, which it calls the Ghadir. It also has the 157-foot Fateh class of submarines.
The Iranians intend to equip the IRGC with both Ghadir and Fateh submarines, according to the report. This is supposed to expand Iran’s power in the Persian Gulf.
The US recently appointed a new commander for US anti-ISIS forces. US forces have facilities in Erbil and also in Syria.
“The presence of the US military and the military in Syrian territory is completely illegal,” Iran said Monday. “The Syrian government has not invited the American military, and the official request of the Syrian government is the withdrawal of the American military forces from the territory of this country as soon as possible.”
Iran warns it could encourage attacks on US troops in Syria
Tehran’s comments appear to be a warning to the US that Iran could encourage proxy groups to continue to target Americans in Syria. The Iranian Foreign Ministry says the US is the “source” of instability in Syria.
“We consider the US presence in the region to be contrary to regional peace,” Iran said. “This presence has always disturbed peace.”
Iran is also working with Iraq to facilitate a large pilgrimage this month with pilgrims who are marking Arbaeen, the Shi’ite event. This will involve helping hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, and it is an important event for Iran. Iran’s government generally backs Shi’ites throughout the Middle East.
In addition, Iran says it has recently held talks with Qatar about the lifting of sanctions. This appears to be part of the larger discussions Qatar has had with Oman and the West. The Iranian Foreign Ministry praised a recent agreement with the US in which Iran released several prisoners in what Tehran says was an “exchange.”
“For us, the release of Iranian prisoners who have been cruelly taken hostage is a priority,” Iran said. “We made the exchange agreement with the prisoners. Along with it, we followed up on the unblocking of Iran’s assets. In this direction, fortunately, we are witnessing the progress of the work.”
Iran’s comments reveal its regional agenda. It wants Syria to be less isolated, it is working on diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, and it is pressing its demands in Iraq and Syria to remove critics, dissidents, and US forces.
The overall trend is clear: Iran believes it is on a winning streak, and it feels confident in the discussions of numerous files in the region.