The Revolutionary Guard in Iran announced the inauguration of a new naval base that would provide “complete foresight” of the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf after months of regional tension with Washington, according to the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
The base, which was dubbed “the seat of the martyr Syed Majid Rahbar”, is located in the city of Serik in the province of Hormuzgan, east of the Strait of Hormuz, and at its gates, where a fifth of international oil exports pass through.
This sea corridor and the surrounding Gulf waters were the scene of severe tensions last year between Iran and the United States, as it witnessed ships coming under mysterious attacks and talk of shooting down drones and threatening navigation in this region.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hussein Salami, announced on Wednesday, according to IRNA, that “the aim of establishing the base is to fully anticipate the entry and exit of maritime vessels coming from outside the region in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman”.
He said that al Qaeda is located “in one of the most strategic areas in terms of defense and offense in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz”.
He explained that the construction process took six years.
The announcement came a few days after a US aircraft carrier crossed the Strait of Hormuz, and at a time when the administration of US President Donald Trump is seeking to tighten sanctions on Iran, especially by reactivating UN sanctions on it.
The international powers, especially the Europeans, rejected this US move, justifying its position that Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2018.
In June 2019, Tehran shot down an American “Global Hawk” reconnaissance plane over the Strait of Hormuz, confirming that it had entered Iranian airspace, which Washington denied.
For its part, Washington accused Tehran of being responsible for attacks on US oil tankers in the Gulf near Oman, and also for attacks targeting Saudi oil sites.
Tehran has rejected all accusations.
Since then, the two sides have nearly entered into a direct confrontation on several occasions.