01:53 GMT14 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps plans to set up a permanent naval base in the Indian Ocean by mid-March, the Guard's navy commander was quoted as saying on Monday.

    "The IRGC is looking to establish a permanent base in the Indian Ocean by the end of the current Iranian year," Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said, according to the Mehr news agency.

    The navy commander said the move would be in line with the guidelines provided by Iran's spiritual leader and commander-in-chief, Ayatollah Khamenei.

    Iranian merchant vessels and fishing boats have been routinely harassed by pirates and foreign ships, Adm. Tangsiri said. By establishing a base in the ocean, Iran hopes to secure a "powerful and strong" presence there, he added.

    commander, naval base, Indian Ocean, Iran
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