Iranian Navy May Threaten U.S. East Coast;
The U.S. Navy has a new threat coming its way, and this time it will be right off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
The head of the Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, told the official news agency IRNA that Iran expects to deploy ships off the coast of the U.S. Sayyari did not specify what type or how many ships, nor did he suggest when such a deployment would occur, but the Iranian navy only recently sent ships through the Suez Canal for the first time. They are believed to have extremely limited blue water capabilities.
The U.S. Navy consists of 281 warships of various sizes -- the largest blue water military force in the world -- and does not include substantial Coast Guard assets that protect the U.S. coastline or any ships that are used for coastal defense only. In other words, Iranian naval forces have little capability to directly threaten the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Rightfully, the U.S. had no immediate comment about the threat.
By contrast, the Iranian navy is basically a coastal defense force, with an marine force that GlobalSecurity describes as "outdated and in need of substantial modernization" and little ability to support an extended deployment across the Atlantic Ocean. They have no refueling capabilities. No foreign bases. No treaties that grant naval port calls in a foreign harbor.
While no specific numbers are available on Iranian ship composition or numbers, they are not believed possess any significant number of ocean capable ships -- let alone anything that could pose a threat to U.S. cities from the sea. Sayyari's threat is more baseless propaganda from the Islamic Republic and gains nothing in the global community.
It is precisely this type of posturing that keeps Iran and the U.S. from ever beginning to normalize diplomatic relations. These military threats, along with the constant U.S. bashing by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in public speeches and international forums only widens the gulf of political differences between the long-term adversaries.
There have been no formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran's government and the seizing of the American embassy in Tehran. That's a long time to hold a grudge on both sides. Despite a long war, the U.S. and Vietnam were able to re-establish diplomatic relations and have since become strong trading partners. That will not happen with Iran until the threats stop.