Iran Unveils New Warship Ahead of Potential Syria Strike

Advanced radar, weapons systems included on ship

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The Iranian Navy unveiled on Tuesday a new warship equipped with “advanced weapons and radar systems” and warned that Israel would be the “main loser” if America decides to launch a military strike in Syria, according to regional media reports.

Iranian Navy commander Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran had overhauled a warship, installing new radar and weapons systems that would “improve its performance and fire power,” according to Iran’s state run Fars News Agency.

“The warship needed an overhaul and equipment with the state of the art and novel technologies and therefore the warship’s weapons have been modernized,” Sayyari was quoted as saying by Fars.

“Sonar and radar systems, weapons and information-gathering sensors of the warship” have been significantly upgraded, according to Sayyari.

Iranian military leaders also announced on Tuesday that the military had enhanced its “electronic warfare” capabilities by testing a domestically made radar system that can reportedly detect “stealth targets and cruise missiles,” according to Fars.

The military announcements come as the Obama administration attempts to convince Congress of the need for a targeted U.S. strike in Syria, where President Bashar al Assad stands accused of using chemical weapons on opposition fighters and civilians.

Iran has served as the Assad regime’s top regional defender, providing diplomatic and military cover for the embattled leader.

When President Barack Obama first hinted at a possible strike on Syria, Iranian leaders quickly promised to support retaliatory strikes on Israel, which it claimed would be the “first victim” of any U.S. strike against Assad.

Iranian military leaders suggested on Tuesday that the newly upgraded warships would boost the “Iranian Navy’s power of safeguarding the country’s territorial waters as well as maintaining security in regional and international waters,” according to Fars.

A domestically engineered warship will also debut within the year, according to Iranian military leaders.

The newly announced long-range radar systems could also help Iran combat and deter Western forces in the region.

“This radar which has been manufactured by the experts of the country’s defense industry and Navy is currently undergoing (different) tests and will be mounted on some warships of the Navy in future,” Rear Admiral Ali Qolamzadeh, the Head of the Self-Sufficiency Jihad of the Iranian Navy, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Separate military leaders in Iran announced over the weekend that the military had begun using “passive phased array radars” that are purportedly capable of detecting Western missiles and “stealth targets.”

Iranian military leaders have stated in the past that electronic warfare systems such as these are the “first need and requirement in sea battles.”

The announcement of these new military capabilities was accompanied by threatening rhetoric against Israel and the United States.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said on Tuesday morning that Israel would be the “first loser” following a U.S. attack on Syria.

“The first loser of this crisis will be the Zionist regime,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was quoted as saying by Fars.

“We hope that as the U.S. President has avoided a hasty move on Syria, the U.S. congress will also act logically in this regard,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying following a meeting with Lebanon’s foreign minister.

Former Iranian President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also weighed in on Syria, claiming that the United States had fabricated evidence of a chemical weapons attack.

“The U.S. had prepared everything beforehand and they themselves have stated that they had known the chemical materials were due to be used three days before the attack took place,” Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by Fars.

Rafsanjani, who currently heads Iran’s Expediency Council, also called on “Iranian officials to act vigilantly and wisely in the current situation and continue support for Syria,” according to Fars.

Meanwhile, the Iranian media has jumped on reports that a group of U.S. veterans are opposing U.S. intervention in Syria.

State-run outlets such as Fars have reported extensively on these veterans, who the Iranians view as proof that U.S. action in Syria would be unwise.

Iran expert Ahmad Majidyar said Iran is known to project power when the region is in crisis.

“Whenever a crisis emerges in the Gulf region, Iran unveils new defense assets for deterrence and to project power,” Majidyar said. “But Iran is known for exaggerating its defense capabilities and its recent claim of military achievements cannot be independently assessed.”

Should the U.S. attack Syria, Iran will likely respond with cyber attacks and terrorism, he said.

“Despite Iranian leaders’ strong rhetoric, however, Tehran is unlikely to retaliate to a potential military attack on Syria by openly engaging in a conventional war with the United States or Israel,” Majidyar said. “Any Iranian retaliation is more likely to come in the form of irregular warfare, including cyber attacks and terrorism through regional proxies.”

Ahmad Majidyar, a Middle East expert from the American Enterprise Institute,  said Iran is known to project power when the region is in crisis.

“Whenever a crisis emerges in the Gulf region, Iran unveils new defense assets for deterrence and to project power,” Majidyar said. “But Iran is known for exaggerating its defense capabilities and its recent claim of military achievements cannot be independently assessed.”

Should the United States attack Syria, Iran will likely respond with cyber attacks and terrorism.

“Despite Iranian leaders’ strong rhetoric, however, Tehran is unlikely to retaliate to a potential military attack on Syria by openly engaging in a conventional war with the United States or Israel,” Majidyar said. “Any Iranian retaliation is more likely to come in the form of irregular warfare, including cyber attacks and terrorism through regional proxies”

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Formerly an award-winning political reporter for the Washington Jewish Week, where he frequently broke national news, Kredo’s work has been featured in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Politico, among others. He lives in Maryland with his comic books. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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