Iran puts on a show of naval force, ramping up its rhetoric, amidst rising tensions in the Gulf

Iran’s navy will put more than 200 frigates and speedboats on parade today to mark the 1980 Iran-Iraq war amid

iran gulf

Photo: AFP

Iran’s navy will put more than 200 frigates and speedboats on parade today to mark the 1980 Iran-Iraq war amid escalating regional tensions.

Today’s parade comes after a September 14 drone and missile attack on two of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refineries. Riyadh and Washington place the blame squarely on Tehran, which has denied the accusations. Washington characterised the attack as an “act of war”, leading Tehran to promise “all-out war” if attacked.

The risk of sustained armed conflict is tempered by the Trump administration’s reluctance to get bogged down in another Middle East affair. Washington’s response has been limited to increasing sanctions on Iran’s central bank and a minor upscaling of US forces—numbering fewer than a thousand troops—in Saudi Arabia.

French-brokered efforts for President Trump to meet Iranian counterpart Hasan Rouhani are scuppered for now, along with any attempts to bring both sides to the negotiation table. This may encourage Iran to expand its operations in a bid to increase its leverage in any future talks. Tehran could then “concede” by promising to stop disrupting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz or limit their support for Yemeni Houthi rebels.