Tehran eyes military naval presence in Gambia

Jul 13, 2021, 2:12 PM

The Gambia seems to be a country of key interest to Iran’s new geopolitical and military strategic ambitions, according to the commander of the Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.

In an interview on Saturday night with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB), an Iranian state-controlled media which holds a monopoly of domestic radio and television services in Iran, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said Iran has intentions for strategic military presence in The Gambia.
In a segment of the interview with IRIB, the Iranian top military official was asked to explain why his country has developed a strong interest in getting a wider naval presence in the Atlantic.
“Our presence in the Atlantic is a response to the Americans’ claims that Iran could never sail in the ocean,” Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi answered on Saturday evening in his interview with IRIB.
The Iran Navy commander said the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had once called on his country’s Navy to arrange plans for presence in countries like The Gambia, where Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi alleges: “The US began to enter forcibly to take captives as slaves centuries ago.”
“By the way, our flotilla was present in the coasts of that country, The Gambia last week,” Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi hinted.
The admiral’s remarks come as Iranian Makran sea base and Sahand frigate are sailing in the Atlantic as the first mission of the Iranian navy in the oceans.
Highlighting Iran’s ambitious naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean and African coasts, Khanzadi said, “The presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy, which represents a country that supports the oppressed, like The Gambia, sends a special message.”
In recent years, Iran’s naval forces have increased their presence in international waters. Iran is frequently accused of launching attacks in the Indian Ocean on civilian vessels flagged in Israel and to a minor extent, in the U.S.
Bragging about Iran’s new naval capabilities, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said: “Considering that African countries of the Atlantic do not have a navy and hence are no threat to U.S and on the other hand, European countries also make no threat against US, the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran – that fighting oppression is one of its principles – in the Atlantic is worrying Americans.”
Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi then revealed that his forces will receive new homegrown equipment within the next few months, including a warship, a destroyer, a missile-launching hovercraft and an oceangoing reconnaissance vessel. The boost also includes a new hovercraft armed with missiles in the Iranian month of Azar (November 22- December 21) according to Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.

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