Sailing, Ports & Shipping
Managing Director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad Rastad announced on Wednesday that the commercial ships carrying cargo to the Iranian ports enjoy full safety in light of security provided by the country for its territorial waters.
“No obstacle has been seen so far in Iran’s commercial ports, as all maritime activities are in normal process,” Rastad said.
He noted that all Iranian ports are using their maximum capacity right now and different types of ships are loading and unloading there.
“Foreign ships need no military escort in Iranian territorial waters because these waterways are among the safest in the world,” Rastad said.
Rastad’s remarks came as British Royal navy recently announced that it was sending vessels to protect UK-flagged ships.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IRGC Aerospace Force started heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the assassination of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad have failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.
Some 80 US army personnel have been killed and nearly 200 more wounded in Iran's Wednesday missile attacks.
The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.
All flights have been cancelled at Erbil airport.
Iraq said the attacks have not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.
This is the first direct attack on the US army ever since world war two.
IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.
Following the attack, the IRGC issued a statement immediately after the attacks, declaring that it has fired tens of ground-to-ground missiles at "the airbase occupied by the terrorist and aggressive army of the United States known as Ein Al-Assad" in reprisal for the martyrdom of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
The IRGC warned the US to avoid retaliating the Wednesday attack or else "it will face a more painful and crushing response".
The IRGC Statement also warned "all the US allied states where the terrorist army has a base, any territory that becomes the origin of any hostile and aggressive action against the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way will be targeted".
"We believe that the Zionist regime by no means stands aside from the criminal US regime in these crimes."
The IRGC also called on the American nation to pressure the White House to pull their troops out of the region to avoid further damage and not allow the US rulers to endanger the lives of their military men through increasing hatred.
All Iranian underground missile towns are on alert.
The missile attack came hours before the body of General Soleimani was laid to rest.
Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by the US drones at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday morning.
The airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shaabi. The two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
Five Iranian and five Iraqi militaries were martyred by missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad.
The targeted assassination attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.