Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, senior official from the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) warned the neighbouring nations against escalating the territorial disputes in the Persian Gulf, claiming that Iran is capable of settling the conflicts through the use of force single-handily.Sayyari said that maintaining marine security along its territorial waters, and safeguarding the nation’s economic interests are paramount to the IRIN.
According to the defence analysts, Sayyari was hinting at the territorial dispute Iran is having with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the Abu Musa and two other smaller islands which lie near the Strait of Hormuz. The islands are administered by the Iranian government as a part of the Hormozgan Province, but the UAE disputes Iran’s sovereignty on the islands and claim that the islands form a part of its territory. UAE claims that the islands were illegally seized by Iran. The islands are strategically very important, as they lie along the Strait of Hormuz, through with millions of barrels of Arabian crude passes on a daily basis.
The announcement by the naval official is significant, as it comes only a few hours after another announcement by the Iranian Navy claiming that the development of the locally designed nuclear submarines is progressing as per the schedule. Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini had made an announcement last Tuesday, that the development of the locally designed nuclear submarine has entered the “initial” phase. Last year, Iran had launched its third Tariq-class submarine, the Younus. The Tariq is the Iranian version of the Russian submarine class Kilo.
Meanwhile, the IRIN claimed that it is intensifying its anti-piracy operations along the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden regions. Last month, the Iranian naval vessels had come to the rescue of an American registered freight vessel, which came under attack from the Somali pirates near the Oman coast. On April this year, the IRIN vessels had rescued the Chinese cargo vessel Xianghuamen, which was captured by the Somali pirates, detaining a number of the Somalis during the operation.