A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic’s military presence in the Persian Gulf ensures the safety of oil tankers in this strategic region.
“Iran’s military presence in the Persian Gulf has provided and guaranteed security and prepared the grounds for the expansion of trade and secure passage of oil tankers,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said on Tuesday.
He further added that the military might and achievements of the naval forces of Iran’s Army as well as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have been pivotal in protecting the country’s borders.
In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, safeguarding merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.
Iran’s Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.
Shamkhani further emphasized the strategic importance of sea routes and Iran’s special geopolitical position, which gives the country easy access to the high seas and highlights its standing in the world’s energy hub.
The SNSC secretary said maritime threats have targeted Iran’s vital interests in military, economic, and development sectors, stressing that new threats must be turned into opportunities in order to materialize the country's maritime capacities.
He said last year’s nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, has created new opportunities for taking advantage of the country’s sea-based capabilities.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany started implementing the JCPOA in January.
Under the nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related bans imposed against the country.