07:00 GMT04 July 2020
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    The vessels were delivered as tensions continue to escalate in the Persian Gulf, where the US carried out live-fire drills last week under the pretext of ‘boosting regional security’. Before that, Washington asked Tehran to stop sending small gunboats to “harass” America’s warships, and threatened to blow the boats out of the water.

    Iran’s defence industry delivered dozens of new rocket-launching speedboats and other vessels to the Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces on Thursday in a ceremony in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

    Several new classes of vessels were unveiled at the event, including the ‘Ashura’, ‘Tariq’ and ‘Zulfiqar’, with Press TV reporting that the boats feature advanced hydrodynamic properties, a small radar cross section, the capability to accelerate to very high speeds and “a high level of offensive power.”

    An IRGC promotional video shows off one of the new vessel’s features, including a front-mounted heavy machinegun, an 11-tube rocket launcher mounted on the bridge, advanced electronic equipment, and the capability to accelerate to up to 90 knots (166.68 km per hour), which would make this particular speedboat one of the fastest around.

    The new equipment also appears to include a class of one-man submersibles, as well as a mysterious ekranoplan-style ground effect vehicle.

    The new vessels are said to have been produced and optimized domestically by Iranian knowledge-based companies in coordination with the Defence Ministry’s Marine Industries Organization and the IRGC’s specialized naval technical centers.

    Iran to US: We Will Not Bow to Enemies

    Thursday’s ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Maj. Gen. Amir Hatami, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, and IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri.

    Defence Minister Hatami boasted that the new ships would significantly strengthen “the security belt of the Persian Gulf and especially the vital Strait of Hormuz.”

    Maj. Gen. Salami, meanwhile, warned Iran’s adversaries not to test its defensive power. “The Islamic Republic has the determination. We will not bow to enemies. We will not retreat. Progress is the nature of our work. Defence is our logic in war but not in the sense of passivity against the enemy. Our operations and tactics are offensive and we have shown it in the battlefield,” he said.

    A great deal of Iran’s most potent maritime capabilities are still “unknown” to potential adversaries, Salami added. “Our enemies will see this power the day when they pursue an evil intention against this land. On that day, they will get to see the real firepower of our forces at sea and in the sky, and the battlefield will turn into a hell for enemies of Iran and Islam.”

    Iran US Tensions

    Long-running Iran-US tensions escalated again last week after the US conducted live-fire exercises in the Persian Gulf, just days after warning that any armed vessels approaching within 100 meters of a US ship would be interpreted “as a threat and subject to lawful decisive measures.”

    Iran condemned the drills, and accused the US of undermining regional security.

    US threats to take “decisive ships” against Iran’s ships came after an incident in the Gulf last month which saw multiple small Iranian patrol boats sailing back and forth across the paths of several US vessels engaged in drills near Iranian waters. The US Navy complained that the gunboats had engaged in “dangerous and harassing” behaviour against its massive warships.

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