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In a wide-ranging July 5, 2020 interview with Sobh-e Sadeq, the weekly of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), IRGC navy commander Ali Reza Tangsiri reviewed his navy's latest innovations, including oceangoing helicopter carriers, underground cities with missile-launching capability, and the creation of a naval Basij corps deployed along Iran's southern coastline in the Persian Gulf comprising 23,000 troops and hundreds of divisions, including aircraft and boats. He said that these underground cities were "floating," but what he meant is not clear.
Tangsiri stressed in the interview that his troops are loyal to the death to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran's Islamic revolution, and called again on Western forces, headed by the U.S., to withdraw from the Persian Gulf region because it is "our territory." He reiterated the IRGC's threats against the U.S., saying: "We will, with His [God's] help, press on the throats of the Americans in a place where they do not think [we can]." He also explained that the engines of the Iranian boats are so noisy in comparison to the American vessels because the noise is aimed at frightening all those who oppose Islam.
The following are the main points of his statements in the interview, which was conducted on the phone and was broadcast live:
We Have Upgraded Our Helicopter Carriers To "Carry Larger Helicopters, So That [They] Are Now Oceangoing"
"The IRGC navy is in charge of the Persian Gulf and also [commands] the mission to defend the islands, coasts, continental shelf, oil rigs, and traffic in the Strait of Hormuz... As of now, the IRGC navy has two independent naval bases in the Gulf of Oman – Jask and Chabahar...
"The Martyr Sardar Nazri ship is a helicopter carrier... We have now moved on to a different model of this type, expanding the length of the first prototype to 65 meters and increasing its capability so that it can carry larger helicopters, so that it is now oceangoing.
IRGC Navy commander Ali Reza Tangsiri (Source: Tasnim, Iran, July 5, 2020)
"Looking at our domestic capability, 90% of the structures used by the IRGC navy are made in Iran, and, with God's help, we will, in years to come, [also] be [completely] independent in this field that depends [on] foreign [countries for manufacturing] ... It is true that the sanctions on the country and on the needs of the people are very cruel. But on the other hand, these sanctions were an opportunity [for us] to meet our own needs by ourselves. If we can manufacture from outside [i.e. with the help of foreign countries], we will not be able to acquire the capability and knowhow to build [by ourselves] at all. Indeed, [thanks to the U.S. sanctions] growth has been achieved, and our various missiles with various ranges are [now] produced domestically by [Iranian] experts – coast-to-sea missiles, sea-to-sea missiles, and missiles deployed on boats..."
The Loud Engine Noise Of Iran's Boats "Frightens All Those Who Oppose Islam"
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Asked why Iranian boats' engines are so much noisier than the engines of American ships, Tangsiri replied: "The engine is no different in appearance from other engines, but when you look inside it [i.e. in its essence], it really frightens all those who oppose Islam. [For example], one of our boats in the Strait of Hormuz faces a 310-meter [American] aircraft carrier with a crew of 5,300 and over 75 airplanes, 10 helicopters, and various other equipment. It [the Iranian boat] warns [the aircraft carrier] in Persian to change course, and [the larger vessel] does so. What is it that allows this boat, that is like one of the thousand pieces of equipment on the aircraft carrier, to do this? It is the place where we prostrate ourselves. It is the might of God. If you receive the divine light, you stand fast."
"If You Believe In God, Trump And His Ilk Have No Meaning... If The Americans Make A Mistake, We Will Pursue Them To The Gulf Of Mexico"
Asked about U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to damage Iranian swift boats, Tangsiri said: "Did Trump react to [Iran's firing of missiles at] Ayn Al-Assad [airbase in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed following the killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020]? Did he react after the [June 2019] destruction of the Global Hawk aircraft? If we believe in God, Trump and his ilk have no meaning. If we prepare ourselves every day and act according to the IRGC emblem on our chests – 'We are all IRGC'... know for certain that our enemies will flee terrified from the arena, and will dare not act.
"We say to the Americans: 'Wherever you are, we are [too]'... I said years ago that if the Americans make a mistake, we will pursue them to the Gulf of Mexico – these are Khamenei's words... It is not enough for us to remain at this one geographic spot so that the enemy will be able to strike us here. We will strike him beyond where he thinks [we can]."
"We Will, With His [God's] Help, Press On The Throats Of The Americans In A Place Where They Do Not Think [We Can]... This Is Our Home; The Days When They Were Allowed To Do Anything Have Passed"
"If we reach a situation in which our interests and authority are harmed, we will face the Americans with all our might and forces. In the near future, they will see us more than they ever thought they would, and will have no choice but to leave the region. They must go. As long as they are in the region, the region will have no tranquility, and the pure blood of the many Haji Qassem [Soleimani] that was unjustly spilled by the Americans will not allow America to continue on this path and to breathe. God's promise will be fulfilled, and we will, with His help, press on the throats of the Americans in a place where they do not think [we can]. God's promise is that the oppressed will inherit the earth – and this will happen.
"The Americans must know and be aware that they cannot determine their own safe space and say that the Iranian ships should not come within a certain distance from them. These words [I am saying now] are for their own good; this is our home. The days when they were allowed to do anything have passed. Now they say 'please do not come closer to us than 100 meters.' No matter what, this is our land, and we must be strong in the Persian Gulf – it belongs to us, and others have no right to such a presence [in it].
"This [Persian Gulf region] belongs to the Persian Gulf littoral states, and we have repeatedly sent a message to these neighbors that we must solve the problems by means of interaction and ensure the security of the Persian Gulf ourselves. We are not the only ones who say [this] and we want to do this together with our neighbors. The Americans have not created security anywhere. Likewise, the French, the British, and so on never created security at all, and their presence is always a source of insecurity..."
In response to the question "Based on your assessment in the war games held at the base, if there is an attack on the country, how soon and to what extent can the IRGC navy respond?" Tangsiri said: "We are under the command of the supreme commander of the armed forces and the imam of the revolution [i.e. Supreme Leader Khamenei]. We are soldiers... and operate with all our might and talents, to the death. The Americans have tried us in the past year and a half of direct conflict. We have slapped them [the Westerners] six times since the war: the Americans twice, the British twice, the Canadians once, and the Australians once. As invading forces, they were gravely harmed by the IRGC navy.
"If we – all of us who belong to the [Iranian] armed forces – obey our guardian [Khamenei], we will keep going to our last breath and take the enemy's life. We are subjugate [to Khamenei] and when an order comes, the enemy will not be facing us."
"Our Entire Coast Is Armed And All The Military's And IRGC's Underground Cities Are Deployed"
Tangsiri mentioned statements by Ali Fadavi, IRGC naval commander from 1997-2010 and current IRGC deputy commander. Fadavi had said that "the IRGC navy has underground cities" and asked, "When will these achievements be unveiled?"
Tangsiri said: "The words of dear commander Fadavi are grounded... We have floating underground cities [i.e. floating platforms] and coast-to-sea missiles. We have cities [that can] launch missiles, and we will present them when our dignitaries see fit. Our enemy knows that we have underground cities in the military and in the IRGC along the Persian Gulf coast and the Makran [coastal strip in Pakistan and Iran], but its information is not exact. At this time, another thing we can say with certainty is that we are everywhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, everywhere that you never even imagined. We are your nightmare.
"For example, allow me just to point out that we have created a naval Basij [popular forces]. Along the 2,200-km coastline, except for the coasts of the islands, is the naval Basij, and to date 428 naval divisions have been formed, with over 23,000 troops. Every division defined as naval Basij is meant to include 45 airplanes and 10 ships, or a combination of the two.
"Our entire coast is armed, and all the army and IRGC underground cities are deployed for various defensive applications along the entire southern coast, and the coast is fully armed, and this is not a slogan. On the other hand, we have full intelligence control of the Persian Gulf. We know exactly where every ship is, from the moment it enters the [Gulf at the] Strait of Hormuz until it leaves it, and what it is doing, [and it is] under our eyes and under our near and direct arrows. This is not a slogan. Our missiles have a long range [and our enemies] must wait for news in the future about the long-range missiles and the floating [cities] that they cannot even imagine..."
 See MEMRI TV Clip No. 7026, Iranian TV Report on Underground "Missile Cities": Ballistic Missiles Ready to Launch 24/7, Some Aimed at U.S. Aircraft Carriers, February 10, 2019.
 For more statements by Iranian officials about the Persian Gulf belonging to Iran and on the need for Westerners to leave it immediately, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8752, Iranian Regime: The Entire Persian Gulf Is Our Sea – 'Mare Nostrum' – And Has Belonged To Iran For Centuries; U.S. Forces Must Leave It, May 19, 2020; Special Dispatch No. 8210, Following Iran's Seizure Of British Oil Tanker, Senior Iranian Officials Again Declare: The Persian Gulf Is Iranian Territory; Iran's Armed Forces Are Responsible For Security In It, In Strait Of Hormuz, Gulf Of Oman, August 2, 2019.
 In the interview, Tangsiri uses terminology of the May 25 killing of George Floyd in the U.S. – Iran will "press on the throats" of the Americans and "will not allow... America to breathe."
 Tasnim (Iran), July 5, 2020.