by Cyrus Yaqubi
But after a while it became clear that almost all those claims were purely propaganda and untrue…
At a time when the economic crisis, inflation, and poverty have engulfed Iranian society, and the fabric of society is falling apart due to the increased rate of Coronavirus victims and lack of medical facilities, the regime’s propaganda is talking about out-of-reach capabilities and makes false representations and claims.
On Khamenei’s behest IRGC commanders for internal propaganda purposes claim authority and unmatched technical know-how. So once they launch a ballistic missile under the guise of “sending satellites” and then conclude IRGC have become space force and once they offer a device that is more like a toy and claim to have built a scientific device that can detect Coronavirus from 100 meters away in 5 seconds, and now, by painting a merchant ship, they claim to have built an ocean-rolling warship.
In a hollow power show on Wednesday, November 19, IRGC announced, Iran had indigenously built and launched a 150-meter-long, 22-meter-wide ocean-rolling ship capable of carrying helicopters, several drones, and missiles. During a ceremony, IRGC’s commander, Salami, informed the local and foreign journalists about this. He said, “in order to defend its vital interests, Iran is not limited to a specific geography!”
But what is the reality? Can Iran really build an ocean-rolling ship?
Iran has made many claims about manufacturing weapons, armor vehicles, aircraft, and missiles, but after a while it became clear that almost all those claims were purely propaganda and untrue. For example, some time ago they claimed to build advanced fighter jets, and even President Rouhani unveiled the Iranian-made aircraft during a ceremony, but it soon became clear that the aircraft was in fact the same American-made F-5 aircraft that was made 50 years ago.
And after refurbishing some of them, Iran has introduced this aircraft as made in Iran, which in comparison with modern aircraft today is not comparable and considered negligible in air combat. It has also repeatedly claimed to have built new types of modern missiles, but later observers and experts realized that they were either old models of Russian missiles or North Korean copied by Mullahs’ regime.
The same is true of the navy, and this is not the first time that Iran has exaggerated the capabilities of its warships. An example of this is the so-called “the stealth Sahand destroyer”, which is a Corvette-type missile carrying vessel or Khark vessel with no radar-evading features. It only has a helipad on it but is often referred to as a “helicopter carrier”.
The condition of Iranian regime’s warships is so bad that last May 11, in a naval maneuver, the Konarak, a logistical support ship built by Netherlands (Now Regime calls it a destroyer) and sold to Iran before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, was mistakenly fired upon by its own Navy.
According to Hamid Hajipour, an Iranian journalist, the number of personnel of the ship killed in the accident has reached more than 40, and the bodies of 22 of them have been found so far. After a couple months of that incident, IRGC again claimed to have built an ocean-rolling ship capable of carrying helicopters and planes.
But since naval experts know that Iran is incapable of building such ships and already are informed about Iranian warships, this false claim soon became apparent, and it became clear that the ship was in fact an old Italian cargo ship that Iran had recently bought it for less than $ 3 million, and now, with minor modifications to this container-ship by installing four boats, a drone and a helicopter, and a number of rocket launchers, IRGC claims to have built an ocean-rolling Aircraft carrier.
This ship is not like warships in terms of hull design and is like container ships, but IRGC wants to forge it as a warship!
But on the other hand, there is still a question of whether this ship is suitable for a long operation in open waters and can withstand it? Preliminary investigations show that there is no equipment for launching drones, reloading missiles, maintaining, and refueling facilities for helicopters or hangars, or even a clear means for quickly launching and retrieving four speedboats on board.
In addition, as can be seen, the various weapons are all simply placed on deck, exposing them to potential threats and dangers from the turbulence of rough seas. In a real operational environment, most of these weapons must be stored under the deck.
There is also another real problem in a possible combat scenario. It is not clear whether its design is resistant to enemy attacks, in the configuration revealed so far, it appears that the ship has limited anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense.
Of course, none of this indicates that the ship may not be used for a variety of asymmetric and limited operations that Iran does regularly directly or indirectly through its agents and mercenaries in the Middle East in coastal scenarios.
But until then, and until this ship is actually used in a real operation or in a realistic scenario, it is difficult to know whether it is a warship or, like previous examples, a propaganda aimed to demonstrate the strength of IRGC and creating a greater presence on the coast near the coastlines of Iran!
Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the social issues and economy of the middle east countries in general and Iran in particular.