Iran's Deputy Navy Commander for Coordination, Admiral Peiman Jafari Tehrani, admitted his country needs better military equipment, including but not limited to the bulding of a new aircraft carrier, as cited by semi-official Fars news agency. Iran's fleet regularly escorts from the threat of modern age pirates ships, particularly oil tankers, from the Persian Gulf all the way down to South Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.
“At present, the Defense Ministry and the Navy are both after building military equipment for naval warfare but the Defense Ministry is producing different types of missiles indigenously and the Navy's needs to missiles are met using this capacity,” he said. “Building an aircraft carrier is also among the goals pursued by the Navy and we hope to attain this objective,” he added.
It is not the first time that Tehran has voiced plans to build an aircraft carrier. In 2011, Iran's Deputy Navy Commander Captain Mansour Maqsoudlou told IRNA news agency that initial designs for building the carriers had been approved.
The idea was then mentioned in 2014 when Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari claimed the country was capable of building aircraft carriers, as well as heavy submarines.
As we have managed to produce warships and submarines, we also have the capability to build aircraft carriers and heavy submarines, Sayyari said at the time.
Earlier in December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the national nuclear agency to start developing nuclear propulsion capability for marine transportation.
Admiral Peiman Jafari Tehrani stressed that the Persian Gulf Arab littoral states are in no way capable of fighting in a war against Iran. No Persian Gulf littoral state is capable of confronting Iran and it is not a slogan but is a reality since the Islamic Iran has reached desirable achievements in producing military equipment.
He also noted that Iran has so far sent 44th flotilla of warships to international waters. The Islamic Iran's 44th fleet has been deployed in the South African ports as part of its mission. The 44th flotilla of warships started its voyage after the 43rd fleet of the Iranian Navy returned home. The 44th flotilla, comprising Alvand destroyers and Bushehr logistics vessels embarked on a voyage for the high seas to safeguard maritime routes used by the country's vessels and oil tankers operating in international waters in Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. It berthed in the port city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania late October.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.
The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.