Iran's Two Navies
The Arab Spring has fomented increasing uncertainty in the Middle East, a circumstance in which Iran’s regional intentions are of increasing concern. U.S. attempts to isolate the regime are driven by concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, the enduring energy chokepoint at the Strait of Hormuz, and Iran’s export of radical Shi’a militancy through proxy groups across the region, particularly as it affects Iraq, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.
Tehran has historically used its naval forces to send strategic signals and project its foreign policy ambitions and priorities. The regime views its naval resources as its most visible counterforce to U.S. and allied operations off Iran’s shores and the best prepared of Iran’s military services to conduct conventional military operations.