December 18, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 11026

IRGC Navy Commander Tangsiri On The USS Eisenhower's Arrival In The Gulf: 'They Are Absolutely In The Sights Of Our Missiles And Facilities – And They Never Try To Engage With Us Or Challenge Us'; 'We Represent A Great Nation... And Today We Are At The Peak Of Our Power; The Enemy Knows What Our Capabilities Are And What Catastrophes We Can Bring Upon It'

December 18, 2023
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 11026

The commanders of the Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy both spoke out about the November 27, 2023 arrival of the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Its arrival was aimed at deterring Iran from taking action against Western forces in the region in light of the Israel-Hamas war.

For years, the Iranian regime has been calling for the expulsion of Western, and particularly American, forces from the Persian Gulf region, because it feels that they threaten its existence. The regime maintains that the Gulf is Iranian sovereign territory and that Iran is in charge of shipping security in it. However, this view is in direct opposition to international law, according to which international waterways, such as the Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb – the Red Sea's outlet to the Indian Ocean – must be free accessible to all.[1]

In statements, both of these Iranian naval commanders have expressed the Iranian nationalist stance, that is, that the entire region is under Iranian sovereignty and that all ships sailing through the area must show compliance with signs of this sovereignty. This includes answering to Iranian naval personnel in Farsi, and compliance with Iranian sailing directives. One naval commander have threatened the Americans with expulsion of the American presence from the Gulf, and the other threatened missile attacks on U.S. Navy vessels.

This report will provide the key points of the Iranian naval commanders' statements about the American presence in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian Navy Commander Shahram Irani: We Must Expel The USS Eisenhower From The Region

On December 12, 2023, at the National Conference for the Development of the Makran Coast, which is the southeastern coastal region stretching to the Gulf of Oman, Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Shahram Irani stated: "Many have said that the [USS Eisenhower] has arrived in the region in order to change the balance [of power in the region]. But it should be said that that they have come here in order to spark fitna [civil rebellion] and to meet their own needs, and I say we must expel them from the region, and soon."[2]

Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Shahram Irani. Source: Tasnim News Agency (Iran), December 11, 2023.


IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri: The Enemy Does Not Challenge Us, It Knows What Catastrophes We Can Bring Upon It

In a November 28, 2023 interview marking the Iranian military's Navy Day, IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri noted that the USS Eisenhower had arrived in the Persian Gulf, and boasted that it had "entered the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz [only] after its crew answered – in Farsi – all the questions asked by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

He continued: "The enemy [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.] had somehow escaped the Persian Gulf, and now it has returned, but not in order to defend its reputation. Of course, they are not in our waters and they do not pass our through our waterways, but rather they are in the territorial waters of the countries in the southern part of the Persian Gulf.

"They do not even approach our continental shelf, [yet] they respond fully to the hails of our fighters in the region. Any foreign naval fleet that arrives in the Persian Gulf is forced to speak Farsi. This is the Persian Sea. We are the ones who ask the questions, and they are the ones who [need to] answer.

IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri. Source: Khabar Online (Iran), November 28, 2023.

"Just yesterday [November 27], when the [American] aircraft carrier arrived in the Persian Gulf, they answered all our questions. When they arrived and saw before them the large number of Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, they quickly sailed to the southern waters of the Persian Gulf which are controlled by the neighboring countries.

"It is smart for the Americans to behave rationally in the Persian Gulf. In their visits to the Persian Gulf in recent years, there was not a single instance of a vessel entering our waters, and when the Americans are in the Persian Gulf, they themselves know that they are inside a sack whose opening (the Strait of Hormuz) is in our hands. They are absolutely in the sights of our missiles and facilities, and they never try to engage with us or challenge us."

About the aircraft carrier's arrival in the Gulf, Tangsiri said: "Our drones were flying over them, and we warned them that their helicopter [flying above the deck of the carrier] must land [on the deck]. They emphasized that they were flying over their own ship, but they followed our orders. We have video and photos of all their movements. This time when they entered, they were much more compliant and cooperative than last time. The purpose of the presence of the American fleet in the region is only a means of encouraging our [Iran's] opponents, and is not a source of power [for the Americans].

"[On January 12, 2016,] when we captured 10 sailors belonging to the American aggression forces five miles away from Farsi Island, they had in the Persian Gulf two aircraft carriers with 150 planes, as well as five destroyers [but did not attack us].[3] This proves that their presence is only aimed at encouraging their own forces [but has no actual authority].

"We are the creators of the resistance [movement]. We resisted the enemy for eight years [during the Iran-Iraq War, which Iran claims was backed by the U.S.]. The Iranian nation will absolutely not surrender to its enemies, who are not above God, and we recognize no one as being above God.

"We have had experience with three [U.S.] aircraft carriers and 80 destroyers in the Persian Gulf, and despite this presence we stopped their various ships. We represent a great nation that has been steadfast in the face of all the enemies for 44 years, and today we are at the peak of our power. The enemy knows what our capabilities are and what catastrophes we can bring upon it."[4]


[2] Tasnim News Agency (Iran), December 11, 2023.

[3] On January 12, 2016, a few days before the end of U.S. President Barack Obama's term in office, IRGC forces seized two U.S. naval vessels that Iran claimed had entered its territorial waters. The IRGC forced the 10 American sailors to kneel and raise their hands in surrender, and they were released after high-level diplomatic efforts. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6272, Responses In Iran To Capture Of American Sailors, January 21, 2016.

[4] Khabar Online (Iran), November 28, 2023.

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