The Revolutionary Guards will soon stage their most massive naval exercises in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between Iran and the United States.
According to Fars News Agency, the mouthpiece of the Revolutionary Guards, Vahidi stated that “The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps plans to conduct its greatest naval war games in the same region in the near future. Iran is the most important power in the region, playing a significant role in protecting the security of the area.”
The Revolutionary Guards’ Navy commander, Gen. Ali Fadavi, said he’s received orders for Guards naval units to conduct a massive military exercise, codenamed Payambar e Azam (the Great Prophet), next month in the Persian Gulf.
Fadavi bragged that the Islamic Republic of Iran has full control of the waterways of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and warned America to remember the bitterness of the Iraqi attack on the billion-dollar USS Stark in 1987 in the Persian Gulf in which 37 sailors were killed on the U.S. warship. The Stark later had to be scrapped.
America should also remember, Fadavi said, that during that Iran-Iraq war attack, not only was the U.S. Navy not able to protect oil tankers in the Gulf, but it could not even protect itself — and that was when Iran did not have the power it does today.
Fadavi said the next round of war games would be “different” from previous ones and that the world will witness the full power of the Revolutionary Guards.
Considering that America chose to run from Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and soon Afghanistan, Fadavi asked, how can it guarantee the security of the Strait of Hormuz? “If they choose war,” Fadavi said, “the world economy will collapse and will not be able to absorb the closure of the Strait of Hormuz by our forces, and that America should know, we will hit America and the Americans from everywhere while they won’t be able to easily locate us.”
Iran wrapped up 10-day naval drills in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman on Tuesday.
Speaking after the drill, Gen. Vahidi said the country has been successful in its pursuit of maintaining the security of the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil route. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil supply passes through the waterway.
The Islamic Republic’s military officials have repeatedly warned that in case of an attack by either the U.S. or Israel, Iran would target 32 American military bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormuz. As I revealed recently in “The Coming War with Iran,” the Revolutionary Guards have mapped out all U.S. bases in the region for an attack in case of war.
In its most direct threat, Iran’s army chief, Ataollah Salehi, on Tuesday warned the U.S. not to return a U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. “I advise, recommend and warn them (the Americans) over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once,” Salehi said.
Many of the officials and commanders of the Islamic regime in Iran are either wanted by Interpol or various courts around the world for terrorist activities and acts of assassination on Iranian opposition. Iran’s defense minister, Gen. Vahidi, is on the Interpol most-wanted list for his role in the attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires 1994, in which 85 people were killed and hundreds injured.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).