The Commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, announced that nine sailors have died in direct clashes with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, without further details.
Tangsiri said that his forces had dealt nine unforgettable blows to the US avenging the death of his troops, which made Washington realize “the sovereignty of the Iranian Republic in the maritime arena.”
Speaking at a gathering of Basij students at the former US embassy compound in Tehran, the Rear Admiral indicated that Iranian youth should know “the importance of the Persian Gulf and the fact that our country is of great geographical significance,” he said.
Tangsiri added that many of the incidents had not been reported by the media, noting that the seizure of the Vietnamese oil tanker last month is one of those slaps.
Iran’s national army navy and the IRGC naval forces share the tasks of protecting Iranian waters in the south.
The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are the IRGC area, while the navy is active in the Gulf of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean.
Tensions in the waters have been exacerbated since former US President Donald Trump decided to tighten oil sanctions on Iran in May 2019, a year after withdrawing from the nuclear agreement.
A drone raided a Japanese oil tanker operated by an Israeli businessman, killing a Briton and a Romanian last month. The United States, Britain, and Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident.
The US and Iran gave contradictory accounts about the seizure of the tanker in the Sea of Oman, which occurred on October 24.
The IRGC announced that its forces had foiled a US attempt to seize an oil tanker loaded with Iranian oil, adding that its navy landed on the deck and diverted it into Iranian waters.
The US forces attempted to pursue the tanker with helicopters and warships but failed to catch it.
The Pentagon denied the Iranian claims, saying they are false and untrue.
On November 10, the Revolutionary Guard released the Vietnamese oil tanker less than a week after it announced the details of the accident. Vietnam had confirmed communication with Iran to release the tanker.
Days after, IRGC published a video showing Iranian commandos boarding a helicopter and landing on a tanker with machine guns pointed at the crew. Several speedboats circled the tanker, and a voice in English warned a US ship to leave the area.
US Defense Department spokesman John Kerry said the helicopter flew 25 yards away and circled the tanker three times.
The New York Times reported a US official saying that Washington did not publicize the event because of current diplomatic sensitivities with Iran, in reference to attempts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
Iran revealed the details of the incident hours after it announced its return to the negotiating table to revive the nuclear agreement in Vienna at the end of November.