We reported a couple weeks ago that Iran was demanding all U.S. ships entering the Strait of Hormuz stop and check in with the Revolutionary Guard. Now, they’re saying that move has blockaded the Strait of Hormuz.FARS News Agency, Tehran’s state run media outlet, announced Tehran is continuing a full blockade on all ships entering the Strait, with each undergoing inspection.
“The alien vessels which enter the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz always provide the needed answers and information to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) units,” Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Naval Force Alireza Tangsiri said on Wednesday.
He further noted the deployment of a US aircraft carrier in the region, and said, “This vessel, similar to the other warships, answered all the questions asked by the IRGC Navy without any problem or making any particular move and then continued the path to its specified destination.”
The UPI reports that Iran’s fleet of 20 submarines are much on the mind of U.S. military officials as Tehran increases it’s bluster and stance in the Strait.
The submarines are seen as a danger to international tanker traffic, which ships one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies through the narrow strait every day, and to Western warships if Iran carries out its threat to close Hormuz if its oil exports are blocked.
U.S. military planners must factor in the Iranian submarine threat as the Americans, spearheaded by the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, square off for possible conflict with Iran over its contentious nuclear program. “The Iranians would not have acquired so many submarines if they did not think they would come in handy,” U.S. defence analyst Scott Charney observed in an April 9 assessment of Iranian submarine capabilities.
Tehran’s submarine fleet is led by three Russian Kilo-class diesel electric boats, deep water subs halfway through their 30-year lifespan, and a large number of “midget” subs that can lurk in the shallow waters of the strait.
One 76-foot Nahang, which means whale in Farsi, is supposed to be completely stealth and able to evade detection.
Finally, Iraq President Nuri al-Maliki is in Iran bolstering ties with its neighbour and ironing out trade agreements. Dina Al-Shibeeb at Al-Aribaya reports Iran’s first vice president Mohammed Ridha Rihaimi said the two countries will “form a great international power,” if they succeed in forming an alliance. From Al-Aribiya: He pointed out to the two countries’ “special relations,” and how both were facing “international conspiracies due to their beliefs and goals.” He did not elaborate on what these beliefs or goals include. The two countries’ trade agreements must be speedily fulfilled, he added. The agreements include railway projects connecting the two neighbouring countries and cooperation between their oil and airline industries.
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