Iran has reorganized its naval forces to give operational control of the strategic Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz to the naval component of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paramilitary organization that is playing an increasingly central role not only in Iran’s military but also its political and economic life.
Politically favored over Iran’s traditional navy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, or IRGCN as it is known, “has capitalized on this status to acquire advanced weaponry and better
platforms to develop additional capabilities,” according to the study by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence titled “Iran’s Naval Forces: From Guerilla [sic] Warfare to a Modern Naval Strategy,” Fall 2009. The study was disclosed last week by Steven Aftergood on his Secrecy News
Web site. Faced with threats of military attacks on its nuclear facilities, Iranian leaders have threatened to cut off almost 30 percent of the world’s oil supply by closing or controlling the narrow Strait of Hormuz, according to the Naval Intelligence study.
“Ingressing or egressing warships must pass through mineable waters within the range of a variety of weapons including coastal defense cruise missiles, significantly increasing the ships’ vulnerability,” the study said. Since 2007, the IRGCN has been given “full responsibility for operations in the Persian Gulf” while the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) was a…