August 21, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10761

Iranian Navy Commander Shahram Irani: We Will Have 'A Presence In The Panama Canal'; 'We Have Established Three Ocean Commands – The Indian Ocean Command, the Pacific Ocean Command, and the Atlantic Ocean Command'; 'We Must Wage A "Great Jihad" In Order To Build A Great Iran'

August 21, 2023
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 10761

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On August 6, 2023, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with the commanders of the Iranian Navy and with the crew of the "360-Degree" mission, upon the mission's return from its eight-month, 63,000-kilometer circumnavigation of the globe. The mission comprised two ships, the Dena and the Makran.[1]

The Dena, on the left, and the Makran. Source: Iranpress, May 20, 2023.

At the meeting, Khamenei praised the achievements of the Iranian naval fleet. He said: "The 65,000-kilometer eight-month trip is an unprecedented honor in Iran's maritime history… The fleet's delegation is an example of the Quran's explicit injunction 'prepare as best you can to confront the enemies'... Your operation has increased the country's military capabilities. In addition, [the slogan of] 'We can,' which is the basis of our national advancement, has grown stronger among the armed forces and in the minds [of the people]. [Iran's] naval presence in distant locations and in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans builds national security."[2]

Earlier, on January 11, 2023, Iranian Navy commander Commodore Shahram Irani had said in a speech before the First National Conference for Maritime Civilization that the Iranian Army intended to send ships to the Panama Canal. This was accomplished by the 360 Mission. He added that Iran's navy had already established commands in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, as part of the Islamic Revolution's geostrategic outlook and its efforts to expand Iran's presence and influence beyond the Persian Gulf, particularly vis-à-vis Europe and the U.S.

Commodore Irani also called for a "great jihad' for building a great Iran and a new Islamic civilization in the framework of the 'second stage' of the [Islamic] Revolution.[3]

Iranian Navy commander Commodore Shahram Irani (Source: Fars, Iran, January 11, 2023)

Following are excerpts from Commodore Irani's January 11, 2023 speech:

"Today, we have a great opportunity in the maritime area for developing the country. With the proper use of naval capabilities, we can transform this gift from economic potential into potential [for building] a civilization. Today, using the sea is a geopolitical advantage for us, and those without this capability are geopolitically strangled.

"To date, we have been present in all the strategic canals in the world. We had no presence in only two canals – and in one of these we soon will; we plan to establish a presence in the Panama Canal. The steps being taken today by the navy would not have been possible without the support of the [Iranian] elites, the knowledge-based companies, and the Defense Ministry. Today, this capability exists to serve the advancement of the country.

"We became seafaring much earlier than the Europeans, and we can revive this maritime civilization. We must strengthen our naval presence, and today it can be said that there are no scientific problems preventing our progress. However, most of this [maritime] capability is being exploited for military purposes [and] other sectors must make greater efforts in this field.

"There are many complex economic laws when it comes to naval economics, and this has created problems that must be solved. In the new Islamic civilization and in [Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's] announcement of the second phase of the revolution, the contribution and role of maritime organizations can be particularly effective, even historic. We must wage a 'great jihad' in order to build a great Iran, and this has been emphasized by the leader of the revolution [Khamenei] in his declaration about the [revolution's] second stage.

"Today, as my colleagues approach the shores of the American continent, they represent dear Iran's authority, and we are present for the first time in the Pacific Ocean as a show window for the dear citizens of our land. Of course, en route we were threatened by Australia and France, who attempted to violate the laws that they themselves had instituted [in order to prevent us] from crossing their shores. We responded to them with authority in accordance with the law. Naval strategy is the basis for great national strategy, and is aimed at advancing all national interests.

"We have established three ocean commands: the Indian Ocean Command, the Pacific Ocean Command, and the Atlantic Ocean Command. Today, we are present in the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and we will soon be present in the Pacific Ocean. The equipment that the Navy will receive will serve the missions of these three commands. The Navy is the country's branch in the oceans, and a strategic force impacting the country macro-strategically. This branch's operations are beneficial for national policy."[4]


[1], May 20, 2023.

[2], August 6, 2023. (Khamenei’s official website).

[3] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1441, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Announces The Goals Of 'The Second Phase Of The Islamic Revolution' For The Next 40 Years: 'The Challenge Is Mighty Iran's Presence At The Borders Of The Zionist Regime', February 13, 2019; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7981, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Announces The Goals Of 'The Second Phase Of The Islamic Revolution' For The Next 40 Years – Part Two: 'You Must Preserve Your Revolution... And Bring It Ever Closer To Its Great Aspiration – The Creation Of A New Islamic Civilization, And Preparations For The Rise Of The Sun Of The Mahdi', April 3, 2019; and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8020, The Goals Of 'The Second Phase Of The Islamic Revolution' In Iran For The Next 40 Years – Part Three: IRGC Commanders Speak On The Achievements And Goals Of The Revolution, April 24, 2019.

[4], January 11, 2023.

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