Iran Unveils New Submarines and Makes More Persian Gulf Warnings

By Patrick Goodenough | August 9, 2010 | 4:47 AM EDT

A photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry claims to show new Ghadir submarines in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry, Vahid Reza Alaei)

( – Iran announced the addition of four new submarines to its fleet Sunday, saying the Iranian-manufactured vessels to be deployed in the Persian Gulf have sonar-evading technology and can launch torpedoes and missiles simultaneously.
The announcement comes amid continuing warnings by senior Iranian officials about retaliatory actions in the Gulf in response to any military strike by the U.S. or Israel aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities.
In the latest warning, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brig. Gen. Yadollah Javani, said Saturday Iran’s enemies have never dared to attack because of the vulnerability of the waterway.
“If anything happens in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is closed, the possibility of using this route will be lost for decades, and this will be a great tragedy for the global economy,” he told the IRNA news agency.
Up to 40 percent of world’s oil supply moves through the Gulf and its narrow Strait of Hormuz for markets in the West and Far East.
The four new submarines take to 11 the number of Ghadir-class submarines in Iran’s navy, according to Iranian reports. First introduced in 2007, the small, 120-ton vessels are named for a location in the Arabian Peninsula important to Shi’as.
Iran says the light subs are indigenous, although a Congressional Research Service report last year said Iran had possibly bought subs assembled or in kit form from North Korea.
According to, Iran’s Ghadir is “extremely similar” to North Korea’s Yugo-class sub. North Korea and Iran are also known to have collaborated closely in other military areas, including missile development.
Apart from the Ghadirs, Iran has another domestic submarine known as the Nahang (“Whale”), and bought three Russian-built Kilo diesel-electric subs in the 1990s.
At a ceremony launching the four new Ghadirs, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said they would help with the rapid transfer of special forces, in detecting enemy vessels and identifying targets.
The stealth submarine was capable of launching torpedoes and precision targeting, he said.
“With the mass production of this submarine alongside various guided-missile launchers the country’s defensive production chain is complete.”
The U.S. and other foreign navies operate in the Persian Gulf. Based in Bahrain, the U.S. Fifth Fleet is responsible for the Gulf as well as the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean including the East African coastline.
Vahidi has frequently called for only countries adjacent to the Persian Gulf to be responsible for its security, and raised the subject again during a visit to Oman last week.
Apart from Iran and Oman, the littoral states are Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow