Iran unveils overhaul of naval equipment

Iran unveils overhaul of naval equipment

Military leaders praise domestically renovated technology; large-scale exercise in Indian Ocean scheduled for this month

Illustrative: An Iranian navy vessel launches a missile during a drill in the Sea of Oman, in January 2012. (AP/ISNA, Amir Kholousi)
Illustrative: An Iranian navy vessel launches a missile during a drill in the Sea of Oman, in January 2012. (AP/ISNA, Amir Kholousi)

The Iranian Navy unveiled an overhaul of its warships, torpedoes and combat helicopters on Saturday, according to the state-run Fars News Agency, weeks after nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the West were extended until July next year.

During a ceremony displaying the new equipment in the southern province of Bushehr, Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi praised the Navy’s capability to domestically renovate and modernize old equipment.

“Our capabilities are growing each day and we have managed to promote and improve what we have, thanks to Iranian experts’ powerful hands,” Salehi said.

“In the very near future we will witness the building, renovation and innovation of surface and subsurface vessels by the Navy,” he added.

Salehi, who also announced that the Navy was ready to launch a newly optimized submarine in the near future, emphasized that the new naval hardware was not a show of force, rather a sign of “peace and friendship.”

During the ceremony, Iranian Navy displayed the domestically renovated engines of several Kaman-class missile-launching warships, the first aerial refueling of mine-sweeper RH helicopters and demonstrated a newly synchronized weapons control system of missile-launching warships.

Also on Saturday, Naval Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran would test its new equipment in large-scale naval drills in the Indian Ocean in late December.

Sayyari said that the drills, dubbed “Velayat 93,” would reach further into international waters than any exercise before, and that foreign and trans-regional military forces will be asked to leave the area during its duration.

Sayyari underscored  that the exercises were peaceful and necessary for domestic security.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy is capable of establishing security in the regional waters from every dimension,” he said according to Fars news.

The new military innovations were widely publicized following an order by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to increase Iran’s combat capability regardless of the extension in nuclear talks.

With Khamenei’s backing, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has participated in a diplomatic initiative for the past year to resolve a nuclear conflict with the West that has resulted in 12 years of crippling economic sanctions.

Tehran and the P5+1 world powers (the US, France, the UK, Russia, China and Germany) missed the November 24 deadline for a deal, but have extended the talks by seven months in hopes of reaching an agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

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