The Islamic Revolutionary garrison conducted naval exercises involving hundreds of ships in the Persian Gulf, just as a Korean delegation headed to Tehran to negotiate the release of an Iranian-occupied oil tanker earlier this week.
IRGC’s volunteer Basij paramilitary led a parade of more than 700 light and medium-sized ships in Assalouyeh Sea, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of Bandar Abbas Harbor, where Korean ships were held, on Thursday. A statement from Sepah News, IRGC’s news website.
The IRGC’s naval fleet consists mostly of small, agile boats used to monitor the routes around the Strait of Hormuz. On Monday, some of them arrested South Korean Jemi for violating environmental laws.
South Korea has already sent its warship Choi Young to waters near the strait, and a diplomatic mission to Iran early Thursday to negotiate the release of the oil tanker, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Iran is using its influence on the Persian Gulf to oppose US-led economic sequestration efforts. A government spokesman this week linked the oil tanker seizure to billions of dollars imprisoned in South Korea due to US sanctions.
Thursday’s parade made a statement in a statement as part of an event commemorating the year after the killing of IRGC commander Kasem Soleimani.