Iran Showcases Underground Missile Base Near Persian Gulf

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility. - Bushehr is Iran's only nuclear power station and is currently running on imported fuel from Russia that is …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the lavishly-funded theocratic wing of the Iranian military and a designated terrorist organization, held a ceremony on Friday to showcase a new underground strategic missile site located on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf.

The IRGC seized a South Korean tanker in the Gulf and kidnapped its crew this week. Iran frequently threatens to blockade the Gulf or attack shipping when its demands are not met.

Iranian state media published some images of the missile facility, without disclosing its exact location. The images depicted an extensive network of tunnels big enough to accommodate mobile missile launchers and large quantities of missiles.

IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami offered a rather tortured explanation of why showing off the missile base was necessary to fulfill the “logic” of Iran’s “defense” doctrine.

“Our logic is to defend the territorial integrity and independence of the country and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution. We believe that our enemies do not accept the power of logic, but rely on the logic of power. There is, therefore, no option left for us but to boost our offensive and defensive deterrence in the face of their colonial plots,” Salami said during the dedication ceremony for the missile base, attended by a number of other high-ranking Iranian military officers.

“These missiles have a range of hundreds of kilometers, are precise and have a very high destructive power and are able to penetrate into the enemy’s electronic warfare equipment,” Salami boasted. “The IRGC naval missiles are among the most advanced in the world as to coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, air-to-sea, sea-to-air combat missions.”

According to Salami, the missile base he was touring houses columns of missiles that “stretch for kilometers,” and Iran has “many” other missile launch facilities of comparable size.

Al Jazeera News noted that the entrance to the missile base had American and Israeli flags painted on the floor, so that Salami and the other Iranian military officers could walk on them as they entered.

“Hours before the unveiling, the US deployed two nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers to the Middle East, marking the fourth time the planes have done a tour in the past two months. The U.S. also reversed its decision last week to return its only navy aircraft carrier in the region to its base, citing ‘threats’ by Iranian officials,” Al Jazeera observed, noting that these increasing tensions coincided with the one-year anniversary of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s death in a U.S. drone strike. 

Iran’s retaliation for the strike included firing a swarm of missiles at bases in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed, and shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet with a surface-to-air missile, murdering everyone on board.

Iran’s military strategy is heavily reliant upon the ability to launch huge numbers of missiles at various ranges on very short notice, from heavily fortified “missile cities” that could not easily be knocked out with pre-emptive strikes. Iran also has a dismaying habit of supplying missiles to its allies and proxies, from Lebanese Hezbollah to the Houthi insurgents of Yemen.

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