The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) Navy received the first consignment of the new Nasir anti-ship cruise missile on April 22, the Iranian media reports. Senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan and I.R.G.C. Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi attended the ceremony. Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with the I.R.G.C., quoted Dehghan as saying that Nasir can be fired as a coast-to-sea or sea-to-sea cruise missile, and can hit naval targets such as military vessels or piers. Nasir can also be mounted on speedboats, prepared quickly for launch, enjoys high navigation precision, and has advanced radar system with anti-jamming capabilities, he added. According the Iranian defense minister, Nasir opens “a new chapter” in the country’s sophisticated missile technology. The new missile is reportedly manufactured inside Iran and was unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani on April 15.
Comment: While the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 does not prohibit Iran from testing cruise missiles such as Nasir, Iran’s growing naval capabilities has triggered concern among the United States and its regional allies. Last month, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, told Congress that Iran “poses the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East, and that the United States has "not seen any improvement in Iran's behavior” since Tehran signed the nuclear accord with world powers in July 2015. He particularly noted that Iranian boats regularly harass U.S. military and its allies in international waters – with about 300 incidents in 2016 alone. On March 21, the George H.W. Bush – a U.S. aircraft carrier – confronted a number of Iranian Navy fast-attack boats approaching a U.S.-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait on March 21. The incident reportedly prompted the U.S. warship to send helicopter gunships to deter Iranians speedboats, some of which had reached as close as half a mile away from the aircraft carrier. U.S. Navy commanders have warned that such Iranian provocations could result in miscalculation and trigger an armed confrontation in the Persian Gulf.