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Iran Navy plans permanent base in Antarctica for military, scientific missions

Iran's Navy chief Rear Admiral Shahram Irani (L) looks on as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Mohammad Bagheri (C) addresses a welcoming ceremony in Bandar Abbas after the 86th Naval Fleet finished an eight-month-long mission and returned home in May. (Photo by Tasnim)

Iran's Navy chief Rear Admiral Shahram Irani has outlined his force's plans in Antarctica, including establishing a permanent base for military and scientific missions.

“Our future plan is to proudly hoist the Iranian flag in the Antarctica, and undertake collaborative military and scientific efforts in that region,” Irani told IRIB TV1 television channel during a program to mark the anniversary of the 1980-88 Iraqi war on Iran.

Asked whether this meant setting up a permanent base in Antarctica, Irani said, “Inshallah (God willing).”   

“It is not just military work. There has to be scientific work and our dear scientists are preparing to implement a joint effort in line with the guidelines” of Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Irani added.     

The commander said such an ambitious future plan points to the enormous potential that exists within the Iranian Navy.

“Last year, in compliance with the guidelines of Leader of the Islamic Revolution, we tried to establish a strong maritime presence (across the globe). This came even with various challenges along the way, the most notable of which was that we had no experience of such a task at all,” Irani said.

The commander of the Iranian Navy went on to highlight the persistent attempts by certain foreign countries to hinder Iran's maritime presence, saying, “Within the Navy, we overcame these obstacles and fears, and could accomplish the tremendous honor of deploying the 86th flotilla of warships in international waters despite foreign conspiracies.”

Irani underscored that despite numerous attempts by foreign nations to obstruct the naval mission, Iranian servicemen managed to successfully neutralize all enemy plots through employment of homegrown military equipment and strenuous efforts.

The 86th naval fleet of Iran, which set sail on a mission around the world from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on September 20, 2022, returned home on May 20 after circumnavigating the world. It has officially broken the record for the distance an Iranian flotilla has sailed in international waters.

The flotilla’s return was hailed by top Iranian officials and commanders, including Ayatollah Khamenei, who congratulated the “courageous forces of the 86th flotilla of warships of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army on their great and successful voyage.”

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