An Iranian opposition group claims the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard has formed a naval militia unit to help its proxy forces.
According to a report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is the political wing of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the new naval militia is part of the Qods (Quds) force, which operates outside of Iran’s borders.
"The Qods Force has been recruiting mercenaries for newly created, armed and trained terrorist units to attack ships and maritime targets in the region," it said, alleging that the naval unit is recruiting people from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Africa.
The 55-page report says the IRGC is training the units in the Caspian Sea district of Zibakenar in the northern province of Gilan before deploying them to the Arabian Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
The group said the mission of the new unit is to "disrupt maritime navigation of commercial ships, to attack ports, conduct ship hijackings and plant mines", and provided examples of such operations using small boats off Yemen's Red Sea port of Hudaydah.
It is not immediately possible to verify the claim, but the IRGC has an active military academy in the coastal county of Zibakenar since 2015. (/)
Earlier last month, the US seized thousands of weapons destined for the Houthi rebels in Yemen from the Iranian port of Jask.