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Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Six - 30 September 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Six - 30 September 2023 - Page 5

Iran in the Antarctica

Despite the significant achievements of the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, few are aware of the extent of these accomplishments. What is occasionally reported in the media represents only a small portion of these achievements. Furthermore, the intermittent release of news prevents a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the maritime capabilities of Iran's military forces. The naval force of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army intends to, in the near future, send its own naval group to the Antarctica region for the first time. It appears that this has been one of the primary objectives of the mission of Iran 86th Naval Fleet during its recent long-term voyage around the Earth.

The history of the Iranian Navy

The Iranian Navy has its origins in the era of Reza Shah. During that time, the Iranian Army's Navy had a presence in the Persian Gulf region. However, in the year 1941, when the Allied forces invaded Iran, Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf were sunk, resulting in the near-paralysis of the Iranian Navy. Later, under the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, substantial military acquisitions were made, including the purchase of warships from the United States and other countries, with the aim of modernizing and equipping the Iranian Navy. Nevertheless, throughout this period, which spanned 57 years of Pahlavi rule, the Iranian Navy remained primarily a coastal force.
In maritime literature, bodies of water are categorized into three types: brown water, green water, and blue water. Brown waters refer to riverine areas where patrol boats operate. Green waters are coastal regions. Blue waters, on the other hand, refer to international open waters, such as oceans. A nation's ability to navigate in these open waters signifies the strength of its navy, and a country capable of operating in blue waters possesses a highly formidable naval force.
Today, the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran comfortably operates in international open waters, conducts various maritime operations, and deploys its units for missions lasting several months. This is in stark contrast to the Pahlavi era when the Iranian Navy primarily operated in coastal waters. Similar to the navies of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and other Gulf nations, even today, their navies are categorized as coastal forces, meaning they primarily operate within their coastal waters.
During the Pahlavi era, the Iranian Navy was primarily coastal and did not possess the capability or the ambition to venture into international open waters. This was largely influenced by the leadership style of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who tended to avoid selecting strong leaders for fear that they might pose a threat to his own power. He also discouraged interactions among commanders of different military branches, fearing conspiracies against him. Consequently, during that time, the Iranian Navy did not have the capability or the aspiration to navigate in international open waters, and it did not see itself in that capacity.

The Iranian Navy after the Islamic Revolution

After the revolution, the situation underwent a significant transformation, particularly in terms of the overall command, which now falls under the purview of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. His Eminence, the Leader, brings several essential components to the command and management of the Armed Forces. One of these key managerial facets is unwavering determination. It means that he never rests within the horizon he defines for the military's activities. If the armed forces manage to achieve the objectives he sets, he does not merely declare success and remain stagnant; instead, he contemplates the next goal and subsequent objectives.
His visionary leadership has proven to be remarkably forward-thinking for the military, contributing significantly to Iran's advancements. Another crucial element is the belief in the principle of 'We Can.' The Leader firmly believes that the domestic forces 'can,' and this belief is not merely a slogan; it is a call to action. These components have precipitated a profound transformation within the Iranian Navy. In the post-revolutionary era, the naval power can be analyzed from two perspectives: self-sufficiency and missions.
During the 57 years of Pahlavi rule, they had the ease of acquiring equipment without facing any sanctions. Americans would come and provide them with training. In fact, the Iranian Navy used to rely on foreign training as there were no native institutions within the country dedicated to naval education. However, over the past 40 years, Iran has made significant advancements without any assistance from other nations, despite not only receiving no help but also facing sanctions.
It's remarkable to contemplate how the Iranian Navy has evolved from a coastal force to its current status. They have harnessed their indigenous talent for training and strengthened their educational infrastructure. The military capabilities of their personnel have allowed the Iranian Navy to confidently navigate the open seas and become a formidable presence, even turning into a concern for the Americans.
Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, made these observations during a meeting with the personnel and families of Iran 86th Naval Fleet, which took place in the summer of this year. He reported on the achievements of Iran 86th Naval Fleet's mission:
"In the naval operations of Iran 86th Naval Fleet, young individuals, with an average age of 30 and an average of 15 years of service, have proven themselves with unprecedented maritime daring in the history of Iran. Their unwavering belief in their capabilities, coupled with a reliance on domestic potential, has resulted in breaking numerous barriers. These achievements include covering a maritime distance of approximately 35,000 nautical miles, setting records in Iran's maritime history in terms of distance and time in operational areas, transiting the Strait of Magellan, active and coordinated international diplomacy, executing world-class oceanic missions, and actively engaging with effective diplomacy. This has expanded and secured the strategic naval missions of the Iranian Army, broken the taboos of deep-sea navigation in the world's oceans by testing the resilience and capability of Iranian-built ships in confronting high and tumultuous waves in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.
In addition to obtaining precise information and operational data from Asian, African, and American continents, the deepening of Iran's strategic presence in the maritime domain, as well as introducing itself as an inexhaustible, non-sanctionable power, have been among the other achievements of this complex maritime operation. We have demonstrated that the Islamic Republic of Iran and its people are indomitable and impervious to isolation and sanctions."
It's worth noting that Iran 86th Naval Fleet, comprised the combat ship Dena and the logistics ship Makran. During their recent mission, they circumnavigated the Earth, passing through the Strait of Magellan, which is the closest point to the Antarctica, and they tested the steel hull of the Iranian ship Dena in the cold waters, which is one of the main candidates for participating in the Antarctica expedition. The Antarctica is one of the world's most strategically important regions, attracting the attention of many nations.

The future strategy of the Army's Navy entails a presence in the Antarctica

Rear Admiral Amir Irani, the Commander of the Iranian Army's Navy, in the "Good Morning, Iran" program, commemorated the Sacred Defense Week. He highlighted that Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the Army's Navy as a strategic force, signifying its potential within the military. The Commander of the Army's Navy pointed out that foreign nations had always attempted to obstruct Iran's maritime presence, but they had overcome these barriers. In the face of foreign conspiracies, the successful mission of Naval Group 86 in international waters stands as a significant achievement, challenging the hegemony of global powers.
Amir Iranian elucidated the future plan of the Army's Navy, which includes a presence in the Antarctica. He emphasized that they have command over the coasts of Makran, asserting their ownership and aspiring to raise the Iranian flag high. He envisions not only military activities but also scientific endeavors taking place in this region, with Iranian scientists prepared to contribute. While 52 countries are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, around 30 nations, including the United States, Russia, Chile, France, Argentina, India, Pakistan, and Brazil, currently maintain research stations in the area. Russia leads with ten research stations. According to Abolfazl Saleh, the head of the Marine Sciences Research Institute at the National Institute of Oceanography, "The presence in the Antarctica is of paramount importance from scientific, legal, political, geostrategic, economic, capacity-building, and access to cutting-edge technologies perspectives. In the future, this region will become a major international issue, considering its abundant resources. Its strategic significance lies in asserting sovereignty over the Southern Hemisphere and addressing unparalleled scientific issues. A review of the Antarctic Treaty is highly likely."
The establishment of a permanent base in the the Antarctica by the Islamic Republic of Iran, aimed at enhancing nation's strategic depth, has garnered attention in recent years. Plans have been announced to realize this vision.
Iran's direct access to the the Antarctica from the coasts of Makran, without the presence of any landmass in its path, allows it, under international laws, to make territorial claims in a portion of the Antarctica.



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