Iran Navy: Developing Long Sea Legs
During the last few years, Iranian naval power has grown and Tehran has unveiled new ships, submarines, UAVs and missiles at regular intervals aimed at deterrence and power projection.
Iran Navy: Developing Long Sea Legs – Analysis
By Vijay Sakhuja
Iran’s suspected nuclear weapon programme, the associated economic sanctions, hardliner Iranian lawmakers’ demand for uranium enrichment, and the inconclusive Geneva talks to urge Tehran to roll back its nuclear programme has attracted international attention and marked the headlines of the Middle East politico-diplomatic and security discourse in 2013. Amidst this debate, Iran also announced that it could enrich uranium to 50 per cent purity level for use in nuclear powered submarines but would limit it for now to 20 per cent purity for use in power generation.
During the last few years, Iranian naval power has grown and Tehran has unveiled new ships, submarines, UAVs, missiles etc at regular intervals aimed at deterrence and power projection. Iran’s current naval order of battle is about 170 vessels and nearly 90 per cent are less than 500 tons displacement that engage in coastal/shallow water operation. These support the Iranian strategy of littoral warfare against the other Gulf navies and asymmetric strategy against the naval power of the United States and its allies that are forward deployed in the region. Interestingly, Iran has two parallel navies i.e. the regular Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) belonging to the traditional Iranian Armed forces i.e. the “Artesh,” which undertakes distant water deployments and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) which emerged after the Islamic revolution, operate closer to shores. Although the two naval arms have different role, area of operation, equipment, and operating philosophy, they complement each other.
Source: Eurasia Review.