London, Asharq Al-Awsat—As the US and its allies prepare to hold military exercises in the Gulf, an Iranian commander announced on Thursday that the Islamic Republic’s naval fleet will be boosted in the near future with a domestically-manufactured destroyer and a minesweeping system.
Speaking at a press conference, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari declared: “Shaheed Bayandor destroyer is designed based on state-of-the-art technological systems. The Iranian navy is also to launch a minesweeping system, which will enable the naval forces to immediately sweep any mines laid in port entrances.”
Before the Shaheed Bayandor destroyer, Iran had launched the Jamaran 2 destroyer in the Caspian Sea on March 16 this year. Jamaran 2 is also a domestically-manufactured high-tech navigational maritime vehicle.
The first destroyer that Iran launched was Jamaran, sent to the Gulf in February 2010. The vessel is 1,420 tons and is equipped with modern radar systems and other electronic warfare capabilities.
The announcement of the launch of the Shaheed Bayandor destroyer happened almost simultaneously with the announcement that the US and its allies will stage a military exercise in the Gulf in early May. Washington says the drills are mainly to practice minesweeping and pirate hijacking incidents to protect trade ships. Coping with various emergencies including toxic chemical leaks, and radiation incidents are also mentioned as goals for the drill.
About forty US allies, including the UK will take part in the drills. Soldiers from some of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will also participate in the military manoeuvre.
Political analysts and experts see such a move as an attempt to pressure Iran ahead of its presidential election.
Jeff Steinberg, an editor at the weekly magazine Executive Intelligence Review in Washington, told Press TV: “The timing is obvious. As news reports just indicated, it is the period immediately leading up to the Iranian elections and of course the United States and South Korea just completed month-long exercises in the midst of a crisis with North Korea and it was very obviously intended to be a demonstration of military might and of course the intention is intimidation.”
On the other hand, Sayyari stated: “Iran’s Navy is currently a grand force and if the enemy seeks to make any disruptions to our [presence] in the seas and the route of our ships, we can confront it by our own equipment.”