By Raza Khan
In 17th century Iran, when the Safavids built a modern naval force based on the European navies’ technology. The Portuguese intruders in the Persian Gulf were quaked, and were finally driven away from the Iran’s strategic island of Hormuz situated in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and from all other occupied Iranian ports and islands of the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian island Bahrain which was occupied by Portuguese navy was liberated by Iranian navy and once Bahrain island became integral part of motherland Iran, while in the next century, Karim Khan Zand (ruled from 1751-1779), the powerful Emperor of Iran whose capital was the beautiful city of Shiraz sent six thousand elite Iranian forces via the Indian Ocean by the Iranian Navy to assist Hyder Ali Khan, the Sultan of Mysore, to defend his realm against the British colonialists in the Deccan and southern India.
The Qajar kings (1789-1925) however, grossly neglected the defence of the marine waters of Iran, and never learned from their blunder of handing over to British East India Company pirates the control of the Arab speaking side of the Persian Gulf under the British occupation.
During the reign of weak Qajar kings in Iran in the Caspian Sea, the Czarist Russia after occupying the Iranian provinces of Dagestan, Chechenia, Georgia, Armenia and the northern parts of Azerbaijan, virtually held in ransom the Iranian coastal cities of Mazandaran and Gilan, because of the weakness of the navy of Iran during the Qajar period.
The triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 under the enlightened leadership of Imam Khomeini (RA), however, transformed Iran into an independent country, while the 8-year long imposed war (1980-1988) against Iran by the imperialist powers through their stooge Saddam of the repressive Ba’ath Party minority totalitarian regime of Baghdad and imposition of all the sanctions against Iran, proved a blessing in disguise, inspiring officials and experts in Iran to develop and manufacture the needed defence equipment at home, including the naval ships and submarines.
Although the Islamic Republic of Iran inherited from the US stooge Pahlavi regime some foreign-built naval vessels, these were no match for the superior naval forces of their masters, the Americans, who attacked Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf during the eight years long imposed war (1980-1988) on Iran by USA through their lackey Saddam.
Thanks to the spirit of resistance of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has come a long way since those days, and today it has a built a powerful navy in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman capable of warding off enemy threats not just in the regional waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, but also on the high seas of Indian Ocean and Red Sea.
The Iranian navy has indigenously developed and produced a wide variety of speed boats, missile launchers, frigates, destroyers, warships, helicopter carriers, support crafts, submarines, hovercrafts, reconnaissance vessels, and what not, including a floating Naval port named Makran, which is currently stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, guarded by Iran built naval ship the Sahand Destroyer.
This is the first time the Iranian navy has rounded the southern tip of Africa to enter the Atlantic Ocean after regular calls over the past few years at Syria’s Mediterranean ports and the friendly ports of the Indian Ocean, ranging from Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, to the east African coast, where near the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea it maintains a regular presence to protect oil tankers and merchant vessels from pirates.
This has alarmed the USA, which already apprehensive of the regular supply of oil and other commodities by Iranian vessels to Venezuela across the Atlantic Ocean, thinks that the day might not be far for the naval forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cruise off the New England coast, near to Boston, New York, and other American cities.
Admiral Hossein Khanzadi of Iran navy was definitely right when he said: “While the Americans are 12 miles away from our waters we are not afraid of them, but they have been terrified by the presence of the naval fleet of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Atlantic Ocean, and this fear is due to the fact that Iran’s naval presence shatters the superiority of the United States in Atlantic Ocean.”