A senior Iranian naval commander claimed Saturday that his forces had dealt nine blows to the United States to avenge the deaths of its troops.
According to Iranian media, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, said that the IRGC has suffered nine fatalities in clashes with the US in the Persian Gulf, and responded each time by hitting back. He did not clarify when those nine deaths occurred.
“We have given them nine unforgettable slaps, that is one for each of our martyrs,” Tangsiri said, adding that many of the incidents have not been reported by the media, according to a report by the Mehr News Agency.
Six of the incidents were in the last year and a half, he said. It was not reported when the other three incidents that he mentioned had allegedly occurred.
His claims were therefore impossible to verify.
“They have come to realize the Islamic Republic’s superiority at sea,” Tangsiri said in an address to members of the Basij paramilitary force during a gathering held at the former US embassy compound in Tehran.
He said one of the clashes was the recent confrontation over an oil tanker which Iran claimed the US had tried to seize, but that the IRGC successfully fended off the attacking forces.
While the Guards claimed that they had thwarted an attempt by the US ship to seize the MV Sothys carrying Iranian oil, US defense officials rejected that account and said that Iran seized the tanker and took it into its territorial waters.
Tangsiri’s remarks came the same day that United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed to counter Iran’s “dangerous use” of suicide drones in the Mideast and vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Austin’s comments in Bahrain at the annual Manama Dialogue appeared to be aimed at reassuring America’s Gulf Arab allies and Israel, as the Biden administration tries to revive the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal, which had limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Since then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, a series of escalating incidents have struck the wider Mideast.
That includes drone and mine attacks targeting vessels at sea, as well as assaults blamed on Iran and its proxies in Iraq and Syria.
The US also killed Iranian al-Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani in early 2020, which then saw Iran target American troops in Iraq with ballistic missiles.