TEHRAN— Speaking in a televised program on Saturday evening, Navy Commander Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said security in Iranian maritime borders is very high and said it is like a “dream” for Israel to be present in “our geography”.
Khanzadi also said the Iranian Navy has a significant presence in the east and north of the Indian Ocean.
He added, “The Indian Ocean, as the third largest ocean in the world, has been plagued by piracy in recent years, and centers of insecurity have been formed in the Gulf of Aden.”
He also referred to the rotation of hosting the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) from Iran to France, saying, “The hosting of the sixth session of the IONS Symposium in 2018 was entrusted to Iran. France was named as the next host. At the same symposium, we told the French where they were going to hold the next summit. They told us in Paris, and we said that you are attending the symposium because of the Réunion Island, and you have to hold the next symposium on this island.”
The IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
The IONS has 24 members, including Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, France, Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Seychelles, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the UK.
There are also 8 observers, namely China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
Khanzadi also referred to his recent visit to Réunion Island owned by France, saying that on the sidelines of the symposium, he met with the commanders of the German, Dutch and French navies and reiterated the firm position of Iran on regional coalitions of which they (France, Germany, and Netherlands) are a member.
“We have raised the issue and they also said that they will convey the Islamic Republic’s positions to their capitals and it seems that the Europeans intend to separate their way from the Americans,” he remarked.
The top Navy commander said that it seems that the Europeans are under pressure from the Americans, and it is the United States that is “mischievous in the meantime.”
About the International Maritime Security Cooperation on International Coordination Center that will soon open in Chabahar, Admiral Khanzadi said that Iran has been thinking for a long time to establish a center to lead maritime security efforts at the IONS Symposium.
“This center is being established for the first time in Chabahar Free Zone. The main effort of this center is to collect white data and dominate the northern Indian Ocean region.
This information must be shared between countries and any activity that interferes with maritime security must be stopped. The center can also conduct naval operations,” he highlighted.
He continued by saying that right now, the Navy is in online contact with all IONS member countries.
The commander of the Navy also stressed about sending an army fleet to the Atlantic Ocean, saying, “Makran ship is a mobile seaport and it has a good capacity for the presence of our fleets in the high seas. Sahand has sailed for 400 days since its construction, which shows that there is a great capacity of knowledge in the youth of this country.”
Today the Islamic Republic is the country that is setting a precedent in the Atlantic region, Khanzadi stated.
“Of course, part of that presence is because the Americans said the Iranians could not be present in the Atlantic,” he underlined.
According to the Navy chief, it has a special message when a fleet from the Islamic Republic is present in the Cape of Good Hope and the Atlantic Ocean.
“We had no plans to be in the Gulf of Mexico at all. The United States is concerned that today, for the first time in Iran’s history, the gates of the Atlantic have been opened to us,” he noted.
“One day the Leader of the Islamic Revolution told us to plan to go to a country like Gambia, where the Americans started slavery,” he said.
Khanzadi noted that the presence of the Iranian Navy, which represents a country that supports the oppressed, also has a special message, and incidentally, Iran’s fleet was present in Gambia last week.
“The Americans have set up bases around us over the years, and today they are terrified when we are 5,000 kilometers away from them. This fear is because the presence of Iran breaks the hegemony of the United States,” the top military official highlighted.
Khanzadi added that today maritime terrorist acts are being carried out in the Red Sea, and in a situation that the Iranian oil is under embargo, they are seeking to hit Iranian tankers.
He also spoke about the Navy’s relationship with knowledge-based companies, saying, “A domestic knowledge-based company has succeeded in designing and building a marine diesel engine in six months. We also have a naval innovation center under construction in the Navy. The same young people have promised us to build a heavy destroyer. Accordingly, we have proposed the establishment of a maritime industry innovation factory. In a meeting with the commander of the German Navy, I talked about how we have mastered the technology of German MTO engines, and he said do not neglect these engines. After we returned from the IONS Symposium, young scientists came and said that they had made this engine in the country and named it MAC.”
About the security situation of the country’s maritime borders, Admiral Khanzadi said that the security of the Iranian maritime borders is very high and it is not possible for a vessel to have intention to occupy this area and not be monitored from time to time.
Navy and Air Force drones have created a good capacity to provide complete security to areas under the mission of the army and even to areas within the mission of the IRGC, he said, adding, “For Israel to be present in our geography is like a dream.”
The Navy commander emphasized the construction of a native hovercraft, saying, “I have followed the construction plan of this hovercraft step by step and the Defense Ministry has promised to deliver this hovercraft, which is equipped with a missile, to the Navy in December.”
He also said that in the days of the holy defense (the years Iran was resisting the invading Saddam army), the Navy has predicted the joining of the Damavand destroyer and the Konarak ship to the Navy.
“In the not-too-distant future, the first intelligence vessel, an ocean-going vessel, will also join the Navy,” he concluded.