A total of 112 speedboats were delivered to Iran’s expanding naval forces Thursday during a ceremony held in the port city of Bandar Abbas.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami used the moment to warn all foes in the Persian Gulf, including the U.S. Navy, the craft symbolise “what will become a hell for the enemies of Iran and Islam.”
The new vessels are reported to be Zolfaqar-class speedboats and Heidar-class and Meead-class vessels, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.
The outlet described the vessels as missile boats and fast attack craft. The outlet reiterated the IRGC’s missile boat doctrine of “mobility over defense and firepower.”
Salami’s confident boast of nautical invincibility was seen as a direct response to U.S. President Donald Trump last month:
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
Iran has responded to Trump’s announcements on multiple occasions, saying they would swarm and target U.S. warships that challenge their harassing vessels.
A local report quoting the official Fars News Agency said the missile-capable speedboats are destined for that task. They have been “designed and built by Iranian experts to increase the capability of the armed forces in Persian Gulf waters.”
Salami went further and said the Islamic Republic will not “bow to the enemy and will not back down because of the sheer number of “really quite good looking” speedboats now at his disposal.
“Iran is determined and will not bow to enemies. Development is the nature of our work. Defence is our logic in war, but it does not mean we will be passive against the enemy. Our operations and tactics are offensive, and we have shown it,” he said.
Salami also mysteriously warned a major part of Iran’s naval military power is still “unknown to the world,” saying the “only important and dangerous thing is this hidden power” that can be unleashed at a moment’s notice.
“Our enemies will see this power the day they have bad intentions toward the country. On that day, they will see the main firepower of our forces in the sea and the sky, and the battlefield will become a hell for the enemies of Iran and Islam.”
Using small craft to harass larger ships is a well used Iran tactic in crowded Middle East waterways:
Commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri warned Iranian sailors are committed to using the watercraft and are “not afraid of death”
“Everyone is ready to sacrifice his life. We will show this in practice and we will hit the enemy. Today, we announce that wherever the Americans are, we are by their side and they will feel our presence more in the near future,” he added.
The unveiling ceremony came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the end of sanctions waivers against Iran that had previously allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to work at Iranian civilian nuclear sites.