Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is constructing a massive new ship that would expand its reach to new waterways.
The ship is being built near the Strait of Hormuz in order for Iran to create a larger presence in the strategic shipping lane, which is of international importance for the transport of energy supplies, the Associated Press reported.
The Strait of Hormuz, located between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, is the only sea route from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean. It is considered one of the world’s most important shipping points for oil, with an average of 21 million barrels a day flowing through the strait, which is over 20 percent of global consumption.
The Shahid Mahdavi would give the Revolutionary Guard a floating platform to launch its fleet of fast smaller boats that have been designed to go up against naval vessels in the region, especially from the U.S.
With U.S.-led Western negotiations on a new nuclear deal with Iran faltering, experts worry about future confrontations in the area between Iran and Western vessels.
“They are looking beyond the Persian Gulf and into the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea and the northern Indian Ocean,” said Farzin Nadimi, of the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy, an expert on Iran’s military.
According to the Iranian Fars news agency, the Shahid Mahdavi will be a “mobile naval city” with the ability to ensure “the security of Iran’s trade lines, as well as the rights of Iranian sailors and fishermen in the high seas.”
“This range of new defense and combat innovations for the construction of heavy vessels, in line with the mass development of light vessels, and equipping them with various arrays can maintain Iran’s authority over the Persian Gulf and the (Gulf) of Oman always in the face of transregional enemies,” Fars said.