Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has revealed the existence of a new top-secret underground missile base belonging to the IRGC Navy.
Photos of the underground missile base in Persian Gulf unveiled by IRGC pic.twitter.com/v4uOx4WJFW— Reza Khaasteh (@Khaaasteh) January 8, 2021
Photos and video of the new base published by Iranian media shows senior officers touring the facility, walking past rows and rows of missiles of various classes and ranges. Footage shows long tunnels wide enough to allow for two-way traffic by mobile, truck-based missile launchers and supply vehicles.
The IRGC wasn't exactly subtle about who the unveiling of the missile base was meant to send a message to, with the video showing officers walking over flags of the United States and Israel painted on the floor as they entered the base.
IRGC Commander-in-Chief Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, who was on hand to inaugurate the new facility, said the base is "one of several bases housing the Guards' Navy's strategic missiles," suggesting it would help "boost the country's deterrence power", and protect "the territorial integrity and independence of the country and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution" against any would-be "demons" threatening aggression.
The commander added that the missiles housed at the base have a range of hundreds of kilometres, and have a high level of accuracy and destructive power, including anti-electronic warfare capabilities. According to Salami, the IRGC's naval missiles are among the best in the world among coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, air-to-sea and sea-to-air missile systems.
Among the missiles seen in the photos and videos truck-based Noor anti-ship cruise missiles, which have an operational range of between 30 and 170 km, depending on the model, and the Qader - a medium-range anti-ship cruise missile with a 300 km range.
Salami toured the facility with Adm. Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the IRGC Navy.
The location of the new facility was not revealed.
Iran has a coastline of over 2,400 km, about 1,700 km of that in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. This includes the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic artery through which about 20 percent of the world's oil passes each day.
The region has witnessed heightened tensions in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. In 2019, after the US announced the deployment of a carrier strike group to the Middle East, citing an unspecified 'threat from Iran', the Persian Gulf saw multiple tanker sabotage incidents which Washington blamed on Tehran. Iran denied responsibility. In June 2019, the IRGC shot down an advanced US spy drone operating over Iranian airspace in the Strait of Hormuz, prompting US President Donald Trump to consider airstrikes against Iran before abandoning the idea. In April 2020, the US Navy threatened to blow small Iranian gunboats "harassing" its warships off the coast of Iran out of the water. Iranian officials responded by asking what the US Navy was doing operating thousands of kilometres from its home shores.
In December 2020, tensions were ratcheted up again after the US deployed a missile sub with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles onboard in the Persian Gulf, with that deployment coming after Washington blamed Iran for a rocket attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad. Tehran vehemently denied claims of involvement and accused Washington of seeking a pretext to start a war in the final days of the Trump presidency.
JUST IN: #USNavy's #USSGeorgia transits #StraitofHormuz with cruisers #USSPortRoyal and #USSPhilippineSea. Georgia’s presence in @US5thFleet demonstrates the fleet's ability to operate wherever international law allows. #forcetobereckonedwith— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) December 21, 2020
DETAILS ➡️ https://t.co/PObIHE2XC6 pic.twitter.com/ys8cBbnm7k
Tensions between Iran and the US-Israeli alliance have been further compounded by the January 2020 US assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, as well as the November 2020 killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior Iranian nuclear and missile scientist. Iran has blamed Israel for the latter incident. Israeli officials have made no formal statement to confirm or deny responsibility for the assassination.