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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 January 2019

Iran to upgrade speed boats with stealth technology

There have been periodic confrontations between Iranian vessels and the US military in the Gulf

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard aboard a speedboat shadow and watch the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. AP
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard aboard a speedboat shadow and watch the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. AP

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday that they have plans to boost their speed boats in the Gulf with stealth technology as a tensions with the United States on and off the high seas continue to rise.

Tehran’s elite force said that it would equip the boats with radar-evading technology and new missile launchers as it continues to patrol the waterway that is crucial to global oil transfers.

"We are trying to increase the agility of the Guards' speed boats and equip them with stealth technology to facilitate their operations," Alireza Tangsiri, the Revolutionary Guards' navy chief, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

Iranian vessels have instigated several incidents with the US navy in recent years in the Gulf. Ending a long absence of US aircraft carriers in the region, the USS John C Stennis entered the Gulf last week, and was shadowed by the Revolutionary Guards' speed boats.

The Revolutionary Guards last week launched war games in the Gulf, where third of the worlds sea-borne oil passes through, and warned that its forces were ready to respond to any hostile US action.

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In an indirect threat to Saudi Arabia and other US allies in the region, the head of the Iranian armed forces warned that any Iranian confrontation with US forces might also target Gulf nations that he said had invited them into the region.

"Iran’s regional enemies should know that alongside a pacifist doctrine, Iran has a powerful military force that are ready to protect Iran’s territorial integrity, and also hold accountable countries that proposed (the US presence)," Major General Mohammad Bagheri was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Tehran has been angered by the US decision in May to reimpose sanctions on the Iranian economy after withdrawing from the landmark nuclear deal agreed with world powers three years earlier. The new restrictions have harmed Iran’s banking and energy sectors. US President Donald Trump has argued that sanctions are needed to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and to prevent its funding of terrorism across the Middle East.

Iran is a backer of Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen battling the Arab Coalition and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Updated: January 1, 2019 03:18 PM

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