TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has begun building a line of naval bases along its southern coast and up to the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the strategic Gulf oil waterway, the Tehran Times quoted an Iranian commander as saying.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the bases were being built on the Sea of Oman coast from Pasa Bandar, near the Pakistan border, to Bandar Abbas, Iran’s major port on the Strait of Hormuz, the English-language newspaper reported on Thursday.
He did not say when work would be completed.
Sayyari this week opened a naval port at Jask, which is also along the Sea of Oman, Iranian media reported.
“The new mission of the navy is to build an impenetrable line of defence at the entrance to the Sea of Oman,” Sayyari said in Hormuzgan province in south Iran, the Tehran Times reported.
“If the enemy goes insane, we will drown them at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman before they reach the Strait of Hormuz and the entrance to the Persian Gulf,” he said.
Iran has threatened to close the strait, the sea route through which two-fifths of the world’s globally traded oil passes, if the United States attacked. Iranian officials have often said Washington would be foolish to contemplate an attack.
Washington is embroiled in a row over Tehran’s nuclear work, which the West says is aimed at making an atomic bomb, a charge Iran denies. The U.S. administration has said it wants diplomacy to resolve the row but has not ruled out military action.
Military experts say Iran’s armed forces cannot match U.S. military technology but could still cause havoc on shipping routes, particularly using small craft for hit-and-run attacks.