Iran Tests New Cruise Missiles in Gulf of Oman

  • These missiles hit targets designated with a high degree of accuracy.
  • The exercise was conducted near the Strait of Hormuz.
  • The exercise is the first after the friendly fire missile incident on May 10.

Iran said on Thursday that it had tested new cruise missiles during an exercise carried out in the North Indian Ocean, near the Gulf of Oman. During the exercises, which saw Navy forces engaged, medium and long range missiles were launched, both land-sea and sea-sea, from the coast and from the bridges of the ships.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is one of Iran’s two maritime military branches alongside the IRGC Navy, it overlaps functions and areas of responsibility with the other navy, but they are distinct in terms of military strategy and equipment. In contrast to the IRGC Navy, which is equipped with small fast-attack crafts, the backbone of the Artesh navy’s inventory consists of larger surface ships, including frigates and corvettes, and submarines.

These missiles hit targets designated with a high degree of accuracy. It is a new generation of cruise missiles with a range of 280 km, the range of which could be further extended, according to reports from Tehran’s state media.

In this context, the head of the Iranian navy, Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said that the new Class C cruise missiles have new warheads capable of hitting targets with high precision and at close range, as well as being able to resist “any kind of electronic warfare.”

In addition, these missiles are also equipped with a “homing” system, that is, a missile guidance system that provides the missile with the electronic tools necessary to identify and hit a specific target. Once the missile is launched, “the data is recorded on the missile itself, which has several built-in navigation systems,” he explained.

The exercise was conducted near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic area that serves as a channel for the passage of about 20% of world oil trade and, therefore, the site of multiple exercises by the Iranian side.

In parallel, the new missile tests come at a time when the United States is trying to convince the United Nations to further extend the arms embargo imposed on Tehran, which is due to expire next October.

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and since 1998 commander of its Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Soleimani was killed in a targeted U.S. airstrike on 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Russia and China, countries with veto power within the Security Council, have opposed the extension of this measure. If they manage to block the resolution, there is concern that the US may return to apply severe sanctions.

In addition, the exercise is the first after the missile incident on May 10, when an Iranian destroyer accidentally hit a support ship during a military exercise in the Gulf of Oman. The friendly fire incident caused the death of 19 and injury to several other members of the Iranian military.

Regarding the situation in the Gulf, Tehran has repeatedly reiterated that Iran will not allow the presence of foreign warships in the region, and US forces have been urged to withdraw from these areas. Iran says their presence, in addition to being dangerous, it is illegal, and represents a source of instability.

Relations between Washington and Tehran are characterized by growing tensions, first exacerbated with the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, and then with the escalation that occurred between 2019 and 2020.

The climax of the tension was reached with the killing of the head of the Iranian general in charge of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces, who died on January 3 following an air raid ordered by Donald Trump against Baghdad airport.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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