By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
In 17th century Iran, when the Safavids built a naval force, the Portuguese intruders quaked, and were finally driven away from Hormuz in the strategic strait of the same name, and from other occupied Iranian ports and islands of the Persian Gulf.
Bahrain also returned to motherland Iran, while in the next century, Karim Khan Zand sent some six thousand Iranians via the Indian Ocean to assist Hyder Ali Khan, the Sultan of Mysore, to defend his realm against the British colonialists in the Deccan, southern India.
The Qajars, however, grossly neglected the defence of the marine waters of Iran, and never learned from their blunder of handing over to Britain the control of the Persian Gulf and even vital ports and islands, such as Bushehr, Khark, etc.
In the Caspian Sea, Czarist Russia after occupying Daghestan and the northern parts of Azarbaijan, virtually held in ransom the coastal cities of Mazandaran and Gilan, because of the lack of navy by Iran.
The triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 under the enlightened leadership of Imam Khomeini (RA), however, transformed Iran into an independent country, while the 8-year war the US imposed through Saddam of the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Baghdad, proved a blessing in disguise, inspiring officials and experts to manufacture the needed defence equipment at home, including ships.
Although the Islamic Republic inherited from the Pahlavi regime some foreign-built vessels, these were no match for the superior naval forces of their masters, the Americans, who attacked Iranian ships, scuttled the merchant vessel “Iran Ajr” off the coast of Bahrain in September 1987, assaulted Iranian oil platforms on 18th April 1988, and a few days later in a sea battle destroyed half of Iran’s operational fleet, but not before the Iranians gave them a tough fight.
Thanks to the spirit of resistance of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic has come a long way since those days, and today it has built a powerful navy capable of warding off enemy threats not just in the regional waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, but also on the high seas.
The Iranian navy has a wide variety of speed boats, missile launchers, frigates, destroyers, warships, helicopter carriers, support crafts, submarines, hovercraft, reconnaissance vessels, and what not, including a floating port in the form of Makran, which is currently stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, along with the Sahand Destroyer.
This is the first time the Iranian navy has rounded the southern tip of Africa to enter the Atlantic Ocean after regular calls over the past few years at Syria’s Mediterranean ports and the friendly ports of the Indian Ocean, ranging from Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, to the east African coast, where near the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea it maintains a regular presence to protect oil tankers and merchant vessels from pirates.
This has alarmed the US, which already apprehensive of the regular supply of oil and other commodities by Iranian vessels to Venezuela across the Atlantic, thinks that the day might not be far for the naval forces of the Islamic Republic to cruise off the New England coast, near Boston, New York, and other American cities.
Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was definitely right when he said: “While the Americans are 12 miles away from our waters [we are not afraid of them], [but] they have been terrified by the presence of the naval fleet of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Atlantic Ocean, which is 5,000 miles away from them, and this fear is due to the fact that Iran’s presence shatters the superiority of the United States [in that region].”
Insha Allah, the day is near when the Iranian navy will also patrol the Pacific Ocean and provide security to countries threatened by the criminal US regime.