The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy says the force will soon unveil a new homegrown helicopter carrier named after top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the Pentagon more than two years ago.
“We now manufacture our own frigates. Shahid (Martyr) Soleimani helicopter carrier is also expected to join the IRGC naval fleet in the near future. We indigenously build various types of high-speed boats that cruise at speeds of 70 to 90 nautical knots,” Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said at a ceremony in Tehran on Monday.
He pointed to the IRGC’s seizure of two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf on May 27, saying the move was fully supported by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The seizure came days after an Iranian oil tanker was captured by Greece in its territorial waters.
“Earlier, the Greeks had taken our tanker to the shores of their country and emptied its oil, and a [Greek] court had the audacity to rule in favor of its seizure,” he said.
Tangsiri also said that IRGC naval forces are in full control of the entrance and exit points of the Strait of Hormuz and closely monitor the movement of all vessels cruising throughout the waterway.
Meanwhile, a senior Army commander said on Sunday that Iran’s Air Defense Force will soon unveil missiles with a range of 300 kilometers to increase the country’s “deterrent power.”
“The only way out of all sanctions and threats is to become stronger in all spheres, especially in the military field,” said Deputy Chief of the Army’s Air Defense Force Brigadier General Alireza Elhami.
“Increasing the missile capability of the Army and the IRGC is one of the requirements of deterrence and protection of national interests, which must be further enhanced,” he added.
Elhami also stressed that “the development of missile capability is a symbol of self-reliance and independence.”
The senior defense official also said Iranian armed forces are capable of observing, identifying, and tracking all aircraft, drones, and fighters within the airspace of the country, especially in the Persian Gulf, adding that any threats to Iran would merit a decisive response.
Iranian military experts and engineers have in recent years made remarkable breakthroughs in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient.
Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the country will not hesitate to strengthen its military capabilities, including its missile power, which are entirely meant for defense, and that Iran’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiations.
Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly called for efforts to maintain and boost Iran’s defense capabilities, decrying enemies for questioning the country’s missile program.