Iran Starts Making Midget Submarines

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Since 07-01-05

Excerpted from NSL UPDATE 05-31-05


State Media Reuters (Defense News), 10 May 05

Iran has started to manufacture midget submarines that can land troops and fire rockets, state media reported May 10. State television showed pictures of a bottle-green midget submarine docked in the southern port of Bandar Abbas but said it could not show the production line for security reasons. "We are currently making a number of these submarines, and we are proud of it," said Admiral Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who heads the plant producing the submarines.

One foreign military attaché in Tehran said the vessels appeared to be well-engineered, but he doubted they had much ballistic capability and would most likely be used for ferrying troops. The news came as Iran faces continued Western pressure over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is limited to peaceful electricity generation. The United States and Israel accuse the Islamic state of developing atomic weapons and have vowed to stop Tehran acquiring them.

But U.S. officials have played down media speculation earlier this year they were planning military action against Iran. Another defense industry official confirmed to state radio that Iran had begun a production line of midget submarines, which are generally used for carrying troops in amphibious operations. "This vessel is completely domestically made and the mass-production line has been launched at the Defense Industries Organization," said Amir Babaei, deputy head of the organization, which is part of the defense ministry.

Babaei said one midget submarine, which he said could fire rockets and torpedoes, had already been delivered to the navy. Iran earlier this year said it had started churning out torpedoes. Iran's navy operates at least two Russian-made submarines but they are unlikely to be suitable for much apart from laying mines, military analysts say.