16:49 GMT16 July 2020
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    The Iranian navy has commissioned and acquired two Ghadir-class diesel-electric submarines to enhance Iranian naval operations in waterways such as the Persian Gulf, according to Iran’s state TV.

    The miniature submarines took about 18 months to build, Times of Israel reported Thursday, citing a report carried on Iranian state television. Both underwater boats were constructed inside Iran, which began producing the Ghadir-class subs around 2005.

    The subs are equipped with sonar-evading technology and underwater-launched cruise missiles, Times of Israel notes. The mini subs, sometimes called midget subs, displace fewer than 120 metric tons of water.

    According to video of a ceremony inducting the submarines into the Iranian navy, Adm. Mojtaba Mohammadi said the sub beside him was the 14th Iranian-made submarine to join the country's navy. While it's not clear how many submarines there are in the Iranian fleet in total, the Times of Israel says it's believed there are 12 light submarines and a trio of Russian-made underwater boats.

    One of the new submarines included in the Iranian TV segment was located at Iran's southern port of Bandar Abbas near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which approximately 30 percent of the world's oil traded by sea passes each year.

    Broadcasting the induction of the submarines into the Iranian naval fleet may be aimed at boosting the image of Iran's military as a whole, the Times of Israel opined. Earlier this month, the US re-instated sanctions targeting Iran's energy, financial and automotive sectors.

    On Thursday, the US State Department said it was "doing everything it can" to prevent buyers of Iranian oil from evading sanctions. Crude oil exports from Iran are going to drop "very soon," said Brian Hook, special representative for Iran at the State Department.

    The sanctions were triggered by Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier this year. The European Union, for its part, is "accelerating" development of a special purpose vehicle to pursue legitimate trade with Iran, said Maja Kocijancic, the European Commission's spokeswoman for foreign affairs and security policy, during a November 7 briefing with reporters.


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