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Iran: Revolutionary Guards establish Basij naval force

December 19, 2023 at 4:40 pm

Iran Navy naval drill on January 14, 2021 [Iranian Army/Anadolu Agency]

The navy of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has established a Basij naval force. Basij volunteers form the internal militia of the IRGC.

Addressing a conference today, the commander of the IRGC Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, said that the force had recruited 55,000 volunteer sailors who will be able to carry out operations on vessels armed with rockets. “The Basij forces use those vessels that are furnished with weapons such as 107mm rockets, and fire them when necessary,” he explained.

The “shadow navy” will undertake deep sea missions involving large boats and vessels that can sail as far as Tanzania, the IRGC Navy commander added.

READ: Iran seizes two more vessels in Persian Gulf for ‘fuel smuggling’

According to state media, the naval Basij was formed after the successful formation of the maritime Basij in the Persian Gulf, with 33,000 vessels. The second phase is to be established in the Caspian Sea.

In August, the IRGC Navy held drills simulating the defence of three disputed islands in the Persian Gulf, involving multiple operational units, as well as Basij volunteer forces.

The establishment of the Basij naval forces comes amid heightened tensions in the Red Sea, as Yemen’s Houthi-aligned naval forces continue to carry out operations against Israel-linked or bound vessels over the occupation state’s genocidal war in Gaza.

This has prompted the US set up a new multinational naval task force — “Operation Prosperity Guardian” — to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

BOOK REVIEW: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps: Defining Iran’s Military Doctrine