IRGC Unveils New Underground Missile Base On Anniversary Of Attack On US Forces
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on Friday morning [January 8] unveiled an underground missile base along the Persian Gulf during a visit by the Guards Chief Commander Major-General Hossein Salami on the first anniversary of a missile attack on United States bases in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani.
No reporters were present at the unveiling ceremony, which was also attended by the Guards’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri. The IRGC news agency, Sepah News, published several photos of underground facilities that Salami said in a speech were “several kilometers long.” These showed several types of missiles in long tunnels on their launch pads as well as transporter launcher-trucks. Footage was also aired by state-run TV.
“These ballistic missiles have a range of several hundred kilometers, pinpoint precision and high destruction power and are capable of tackling enemy electronic warfare equipment,” Salami said. The Guards would use the missiles to defend Iran’s “vital interests in the blue waters of the Persian Gulf and beyond.”
In images there were also trucks carrying multiple missiles, as in Multiple Launch Missile Systems, but the trucks appeared to be civilian versions, not special carries built around the missiles.
The video was released amid tension between Iran and the United States in the final days in office of President Donald Trump. On January 20, Trump gives way to President-elect Joe Biden, who has expressed willingness to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and imposed draconian sanctions that have severely limited Iran’s financial dealings with the outside world. But Biden has also expressed concern over Iran’s ballistic missile program.
The US has flown strategic B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf area several times since December 30, including on Friday [January 8] in response to what US officials say are signs of possible Iranian attacks against American or allied targets. The Pentagon on January 4 ordered the USS Nimitz to remain on station in the US Central Command area of operation covering the Middle East, Central Asia and Parts of south Asia.
On November 6, 2020, the Guards unveiled another underground missile base used by its Aerospace Force. The network of tunnels included liquid-fueled medium range Emad missiles. Earlier on July 29, 2020, the IRGC said they had successfully launched ballistic missiles from the depths of underground facilities during a military exercise, claiming it was the “first ever” such exercise in the world.
Iran’s first underground missile site was unveiled in October 15, 2015, a few days after the announcement of the testing of new-generation Emad missiles. In the unveiling ceremony, the Guards’ Aerospace Commander Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh claimed that underground missile bases were scattered throughout the country at a depth of 500 meters.