A high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commander says that Iran has identified 35 targets it can strike in the region in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Suleiamani.
Iranian General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard in the southern province of Kerman, says most of the targets are U.S. warships in the region. But he also mentioned the Israeli city of Tel Aviv as a target for Iran’s revenge.
The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there,” Abuhamzeh said according to a Reuters report, citing Tasnim news agency.
“Vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago … some 35 U.S. targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach.”
In addition to threatening the U.S. with a possible attack, Abuhamzeh’s remarks that the targets had been previously “identified by Iran” seemed to confirm the State Department’s statement regarding the motivation behind the airstrike.
The Strait would, indeed, be a target-rich environment, but for what? An air assault is unlikely. But the narrow confines of those waters make it ideal for a mine attack. The carrier strike groups in the Gulf have a dozen minesweepers, among other support vessels that would handle that eventuality.
Iranian small boat threats, limpet mines and Tehran-backed forces armed with cruise and anti-ship killing missiles are just a few of the threats to the shipping channel in the Persian Gulf that supplies nearly one-fifth of the world’s global crude oil.
To bolster the security of US warships at sea operating in tight waterways around the Middle East, the U.S. conducted an exercise in December using Griffin missiles fired from the U.S. Cyclone-class ship Hurricane.
The exercise, which was conducted in the Arabian Gulf, showcased how U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships can counter small boat threats in the region. The Griffin missile, developed by Ratheyon, is an air and ground launched missile.
The Navy uses a version of the Griffin known as the Mk-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System installed on cyclone class patrol coastal ships.
But the Pentagon is not ruling out attacks by Iranian proxies, especially Hezbollah, who could easily attack the few U.S. troops in Syria. Some of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have already been active against American forces. But their capabilities to do damage are very limited.