Iran’s Revolutionary Guard unveils missile base amid US tensions

The unveiling of the base came hours after the US flew strategic bombers over the region.

Members of the Iranian army fire missiles during the annual military drill, dubbed 'Zolphaghar 99', in the Gulf of Oman, Iran on September 7, 2020 [File: West Asia News Agency via Reuters]

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has unveiled a huge underground missile base along the Persian Gulf coast amid heightened tensions with the United States.

In a clip aired on state television, high-level commanders from the IRGC are seen as they enter the underground depot, the entrance of which is painted with US and Israeli flags so they could walk over them.

They then are shown walking along seemingly unending tunnels that are filled with a variety of missiles and trucks with launchers on their back.

“Behind us, you can see a column of these missiles and their launch systems. These columns stretch for kilometres,” said IRGC chief Hossein Salami, standing in front of the launchers, adding that IRGC’s Navy has “many” such bases.

“IRGC Navy missiles today have a range of hundreds of kilometres, their precision has improved and they have high destructive power,” he said.

The unveiling of the base, the location of which was not mentioned, comes amid heightened tensions with the US in the past weeks.

Hours before the unveiling, the US deployed two nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers to the Middle East, marking the fourth time the planes have done a tour in the past two months.

The US also reversed its decision last week to return its only navy aircraft carrier in the region to its base, citing “threats” by Iranian officials.

The US moves were in anticipation of the first anniversary of its assassination of Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq on January 3 in a drone attack ordered by outgoing President Donald Trump.

During ceremonies to mark the first death anniversary of Soleimani, who led the foreign operations arm of the IRGC, Iranian officials renewed their pledge to avenge him, but said reprisal will come at a more appropriate time.

Iran has also warned the US against any escalations, telling world powers that it does not want war but will defend itself if the US makes a move.

The unveiling of the IRGC base also comes only two days after Iran’s military held its first-ever drill for locally-made unmanned aerial vehicles.

The drones hit land, sea and air targets as part of the two-day drill held in the northern province of Semnan.

Source: Al Jazeera