Iran for the first time since the February revolution has been carrying out navy war exercises in the Persian Gulf to "show the country's military preparedness".
Iran for the first time since the February revolution has been carrying out navy war exercises in the Persian Gulf to "show the country's military preparedness". The move has been welcomed by Western military experts who say renewed Iranian naval activities in the Gulf would help reduce risks of terrorist strikes against oil installations and the supertankers that ply the vital strip of water between Iran and the Arab states.
SYNOPSIS: Large crowds turned out for a military parade in Abadan last week (28 September) which marked the end of the naval manoeuvres in the Gulf. About forty percent of the West's oil supplies pass through the narrow strait of Hormuz, and the greatly restricted operations of the Iranian Navy since the revolution had heightened fears that the Gulf was inadequately guarded. Many of the crowd were given a guided tour of the ships. Since the revolution the Ayatollah ??? has scrapped a one ??? on dollars American contract to build a new naval base at ??? on the neighbouring Gulf of Oman.
However Iran has recently announced that it intends to ensure it is sufficiently armed to protect itself in the event of attack. The announcement said to this end Iran had recently bought six types of expensive helicopters which could be used in anti-submarine warfare.
Iran's Naval Commander Admiral Ahmad Madani told crowds at the military parade that the role of the country's armed forces was purely defensive. He said the duty of Iran's forces was to keep the country independent on sea, land and in the air. Admiral Admani said Iran would not attack anyone until they attacked. He said `Islam has taught us to appreciate the independence of every nation'.
Iran's twenty eight thousand member strong navy is headed by Madani, a former adviser to the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was removed from his position in the navy by the Shah eight years ago. Madani, also Governor-General of the troubled Khuzestan province, is being talked about in Iran as a powerful candidate for the presidency of the new Islamic Republic. The parade was an opportunity for him to gain further public attention.
Admiral who stuck to his practice of always wearing civilian clothes, said Iran should disregard people who were distressed by the success of the revolution. Madani is a firm supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini but is understood to favour a democratically-elected government, subject to clerical vote, a position shared by several leading moderate clergymen.