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Iran Table of Contents


Role of the Navy

In late 1987, an accurate estimate of Iranian naval capability was difficult. In the November 1980 offensive against Iraqi ports and oil facilities, Iran lost at least two corvettes and two missile boats. Nevertheless, the Iranian navy was able to supply Abadan by night (with food and arms for the armed forces and the remaining civilians) until late 1981, when Iranian forces regained the city.

Lacking parts and qualified personnel, few Iranian ships were deployed outside limited coastal areas, where their main functions were patrol and search missions. The Iranian navy stopped and searched hundreds of ships suspected of carrying military equipment destined for Iraq. Beginning in 1984, some Iranian military elements such as the Pasdaran also assaulted ships in the Persian Gulf. In May 1987, reliable sources reported that a Soviet ship was assaulted by a Pasdaran unit speedboat; such Pasdaran raids were largely ineffective, however, because of the weapons used--machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Data as of December 1987