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Iran says it has 112 new speedboats to stalk US warships

NORTH ARABIAN GULF (April 15, 2020) Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels conducted unsafe and unprofessional actions against U.S. Military ships by crossing the ships’ bows and sterns at close range while operating in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf. The guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) is conducting joint interoperability operations in support of maritime security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo)
May 28, 2020

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unveiled 112 new and upgraded speedboats on Thursday and alluded to Iran’s tactics for harassing U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

“Today we announce that wherever the Americans are, we’re right there beside you, and in the near future you will sense us even more,” IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said at a ceremony to unveil the new vessels, Bloomberg reported. Tangsiri’s comments appear to be a reference to recent incidents between Iranian speedboats stalking and swarming around U.S. warships, which they have done frequently and previously vowed to continue doing.

The new vessels are reported to be Zolfaqar-class speedboats and Heidar-class and Meead-class vessels, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. The outlet described the vessels as missile boats and fast attack craft. The outlet reiterated the IRGC’s missile boat doctrine of “mobility over defense and firepower.”

The IRGC commander’s vow to bring the new boats alongside U.S. warships comes a month after 11 Iranian boats swarmed around a six U.S. warships transiting international waters. The Iranian boats came within 10 feet of the U.S. ships and forced those ships to take evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions.

Days after that incident, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had instructed U.S. warships to shoot and destroy any Iranian gunboats vessels harassing them at sea.

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump tweeted on April 22.

Iran has responded to Trump’s announcements on multiple occasions, saying they would target U.S. warships that fire at their harassing vessels.

Iran again boasted of its naval might during the Thursday unveiling of their new boats.

“The Islamic Republic has determination and will not bow down to enemies. We will never retreat as making progress is the nature of our work,” IRGC Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami said during the unveiling ceremony at the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. “Defense is our logic in war, but that defense does not mean passivity. Our operations and tactics are offensive and we’ve shown this in the field.”

Salami continued, “Our enemies would 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 the sea and in the sky, and the battlefield will turn into a hell for the enemies of Iran and Islam.”

The IRGC’s unveiling ceremony also comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the end of sanctions waivers against Iran that had previously allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to work at Iranian civilian nuclear sites.