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Iran Opens fourth Naval Base in Persian Gulf



TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has upgraded a naval base on Iran's Persian Gulf coastline to improve its defensive capabilities.

It is the fourth in a string of IRGC bases along the waterway. IRGC was put in charge of defending Iran's Persian Gulf coast in September.

The new base is in the port of Assalouyeh in Iran's southern Bushehr province. It will control a 190-mile (300-kilometer) stretch of coastline west of the strait between Kish Island and the port of Dayyer.

IRGC's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Morteza Saffari said here on Monday that the US Navy Fifth Fleet and other foreign naval forces were operating near the Sarrallah naval base, which he said was near Assalouyeh on the Persian Gulf coast.

"Therefore, it was necessary to upgrade Sarrallah naval base ... to increase our military capability in case of any instability caused by foreigners in the Persian Gulf," Saffari.

The US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, over the Persian Gulf from Iran.

The General also said that the naval base of Assalouyeh would undertake the upgraded "regional" missions in the naval region of "Sarrallah" in "Persian Gulf" to encounter the current threats.

"The naval force of IRGC is ready to face and repel any kind of threat in Persian Gulf," he said, "And their capabilities to confront any possible threat by enemies in the Persian Gulf are increasing day by day."

The Islamic Republic has often called for US and other forces to quit the region and leave security to regional countries.

Iran recently started constructing new naval bases along the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman for an impenetrable line of defense.

The new bases are supposed to extend from Bandar Abbas, a major Iranian seaport on the Strait of Hormuz, to Pasa Bandar near the Pakistan border, Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said in October.

"The new mission of the navy is to establish an impenetrable line of defense at the entrance to the Sea of Oman," Sayyari said, adding that the new bases would be constructed rapidly.

"If the enemy goes insane, we will drown them at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman before they reach the Strait of Hormuz and the entrance to the Persian Gulf," he vowed.

Late last month, Iran's Armed Forces inaugurated a new naval base in the strategic port of Jask, east of the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran.

Iran's lieutenant Army Commander Brigadier General Seyed Abdolrahim Moussavi said at the time that the new naval base in Jask would function as a "protective barrier in the eastern parts of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman."

A US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on October 26, has raised speculation about the likelihood of a US unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic.

Speculation that Israel could also bomb Iran mounted after a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran's progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned that in case of an attack by either the US or Israel, it will target 32 American bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormoz.

An estimated 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes through the waterway.

In a Sep. 11 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy says that in the two decades since the Iran-Iraq War, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.
According to the report, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world's oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.

The study says that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran's response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

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