The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps received 340 new speedboats during a ceremony at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
The delivered speedboats are co-produced by the IRGC Navy and the Defense Ministry and are capable of carrying various types of missiles to attack enemy targets. The delivery took place alongside the celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. These boats are to be actively used in the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.
The IRGC Navy is focused on smaller vessels, aimed at swarming a potential adversary. The newly-delivered speedboats were described as agile, maneuverable and equipped with radar-evading stealth technology.
Tehran is continuing to reinforce its positions and pursue its interests. This is prompted by the fact that US President Joe Biden’s vow to rejoin the Nuclear Deal turned out to be entirely hollow. Iran demanded that the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration be removed, otherwise rejoining the deal meant nothing.
On February 8th, Biden confirmed that sanctions on Iran wouldn’t be lifted, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying that such a “big policy change” wasn’t planned.
To show some “reduction in pressure”, the USS Nimitz carrier strike group was pulled out of the region, in a signal that an escalation with Iran isn’t planned. That happened as Tehran, Moscow and Beijing announced they would hold joint naval drills.
In response, US Central Command’s Gen Kenneth McKenzie said that Iran was the “Main Driver of Instability”, in his first public address since Biden became president. McKenzie repeated a usual a US accusation against Tehran, claiming that for more than forty years it “has funded and aggressively supported terrorism and terrorist organizations.” The “maximum pressure” campaign is simply “on hold”, but is not canceled.
Iranian allies in the Middle East continue actively operating, hammering US interests and those of their allies.
US convoys continue suffering regular attacks in Iraq, with two being subject to attacks on February 7th. In Lebanon, Hezbollah said that it would continue targeting and downing Israeli drones and more. Israel’s lack of activity in the previous days is quite notable.
The most significant success is being achieved in Yemen, by the Houthis. The Ansar Allah movement is pushing the Saudi-led coalition back, as it destroyed ammunition depots and weapons in Marib. Riyadh also intercepted a swarm of suicide drones attributed to the Houthis, but there was no confirmation.
Saudi Arabia is also remaining active in airstrikes, and violating the al-Hudaydah ceasefire, but with few results to show.
US and allied interests are being pressured all around the Middle East, as the Biden administration refuses to turn its back on any of Trump’s “maximum pressure” policies. The withdrawal of the USS Nimitz CSG is a likely a welcome sign, but the sanction regime remaining, surely, spoils the party.