Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled scores of new and upgraded defensive speedboats with a warning to the U.S. that it won’t shy away from challenging American naval power.
“Today we announce that wherever the Americans are, we’re right there beside you, and in the near future you will sense us even more,” IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said on the sidelines of a ceremony in the Persian Gulf, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported Thursday.
While battling sanctions and a major coronavirus outbreak, Iran appears determined to keep striking a defiant tone as tensions with the U.S. simmer. A month ago, President Donald Trump ordered the navy to destroy any Iranian vessels harassing U.S. ships, after accusations that the IRGC’s craft dangerously approached American military vessels in what U.S. Central Command said were international waters.
It’s not clear if all the vessels shown at the ceremony were new or how many had been refurbished. The IRGC received a number of Ashoura and Zulfaghar-class vessels — the same models unveiled Thursday — from the Defense Ministry in March 2016, state TV reported at the time.