“There was a time when the farthest range of our naval missiles did not exceed 45 km and even that was achieved with assistance from American military advisors,” Brigadier General Alireza Tangsiri said in an interview on Monday.
“However, we have developed subsurface and surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 700 kilometers, which have been totally made by domestic military elites,” he added
. Elsewhere in his remarks, Tangsiri emphasized that foreigners are the source of insecurity in the region and said, "Wherever the Americans have been present, insecurity has followed and we know of nowhere [in the world] where the presence of the Americans has led to security."
He pointed to a recent naval incident between the IRGC's Navy and the US warships in the Persian Gulf and said, "The Americans in this adventurism blocked the way to our vessels in violation of international regulations and even refrained from giving a radio response, but were faced with our forces' strong move."
Tangsiri noted that the presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf has led to a large increase in the number of maritime incidents, adding, "Since the arrival of the Americans in the region, 550 oil tankers have been targeted [in various attacks] and regional security has been decreased by 55 percent."
In a statement on Wednesday, the United States Navy claimed that 11 Iranian ships repeatedly came close to its military vessels in “dangerous and harassing approaches” in the Persian Gulf. It alleged that the Iranian “vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the US vessels at extremely close range and high speeds,” and came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui.
In response to the US claim, the IRGC Navy issued a statement on Sunday, saying the main source of mischief and insecurity in the region is the illegal presence of US terrorist forces, reiterating the call for the full withdrawal of all American forces from the Persian Gulf and West Asia. "In order to prevent the continuation of illegal, unprofessional, dangerous and even adventurist behavior of the American terrorists and also to ensure security for Iranian vessels and fight fuel smuggling, the IRGC Navy increased its marine patrols in the Persian Gulf and on Farvardin 27, 1399 [corresponding to April 15, 2019] ... dispatched a group of its vessels, comprised of 11 boats, to the region, where they came face to face with the American warships and military vessels,” it added.
Iranian vessels, usually belonging to the IRGC, commonly patrol the Persian Gulf to ensure the security of the vital global energy hub.
Tensions in the strategic waterway rose significantly last summer after a series of mysterious explosions targeted a number of oil tankers.
The United States, quickly blaming Iran for the incidents without providing conclusive evidence along with other countries such as Saudi Arabia, has since deployed thousands of troops and military equipment to the region.