Commander of the Iranian Navy Admiral Shahram Irani

Iran Defends Naval Activities Amid Allegation Of Shipping Attacks

Friday, 12/08/2023

The commander of Iran’s navy has claimed it is maintaining “maritime security” in the region amid allegations of the Islamic Republic’s involvement in Houthi attacks on shipping.

Admiral Shahram Irani was speaking on Friday as he announced plans for a regional naval coalition and upcoming large-scale naval exercises involving other countries along southern coasts, with additional exercises slated for the Caspian Sea region.

He said his Navy has a strategic plan to be present in the oceans, adding that “maritime security in the region is firmly established under the Islamic Republic system.”

It comes after a number of recent incidents in which shipping in the Red Sea has been targeted by Houthis.

Since the deadly clash between Hamas and Israel on October 7, the Yemen-based rebels have launched multiple drone and missile attacks on US and Israeli targets in the region. Despite accusations against Iran, the Biden administration, having removed the Houthis from the US terrorist list, has not responded to the maritime attacks.

The Houthi attacks followed Iranian leader Ali Khamenei's call to stop oil and food shipments to Israel. Controlling most of Yemen's Red Sea coast, the group had previously targeted Israel with ballistic missiles and armed drones.

While Iran has avoided direct involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict, it allegedly employs proxy groups like the Houthis and Hezbollah to target Israel and US interests in the region. In response to Iran's actions in the critical maritime route of the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon deployed a portion of the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group accompanied by a Marine expeditionary unit.

Over the past two years, Iran has been implicated in attacks, seizures, or attempted seizures of nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant vessels in the vital global shipping passage of the Strait of Hormuz, according to reports from US Central Command, responsible for overseeing operations in the Middle East region.


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