Iran and terror proxies escalating attacks, developing sophisticated weaponry as standoff heats up
Intelligence indicates that the Iranian regime is using its terror proxy groups to conduct attacks on ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical Persian Gulf shipping lane that has become the center of international tensions as Tehran seeks to foment instability in reaction to President Donald Trump’s efforts to strangle the hardline regime.
U.S. intelligence collected over the past month had indicated that Iran has been installing missiles on small vessels in the Gulf region. Tehran is relying on a large network of terror proxies and allies to attack not only commercial vessels in the region, but also U.S. military assets stationed there.
Iran has a long history of conducting terror attacks in this manner, fueling worry in the Trump administration that Tehran could carry out a large-scale attack via its terror networks. In just the past two years, Iran has been identified as being responsible for at least 143 attacks against shipping vessels in the Gulf, according to expert analyses of the ongoing tensions in the region.
There is further evidence Tehran is developing a range of tactical weapons and smaller vessels that could pose significant problems for the U.S. Navy and its larger boats, according to U.S. intelligence assessments and experts.
The Trump administration has responded by sending greater U.S. military assets to the region and issuing a range of sanctions. Trump himself has warned the Iranian regime at multiple junctures, including during the weekend, that any attack on the United States or its allies will result in a crushing response.
Four commercial ships were damaged last week in the Gulf and carry the hallmarks of Iranian-backed attacks.
“While details remain murky, this development underscores how Tehran and its proxies may exploit maritime vulnerabilities in the region,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or FDD, a think-tank with close ties the Trump administration, noted in a recent policy brief on the situation.
“Tehran has a history of targeting civilian vessels transiting the Gulf and threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which approximately one fifth of the world’s seaborne oil passes,” FDD stated in a policy briefing issued by veteran military intelligence experts Andrew Gabel and Bradley Bowman. “During the last two years of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran conducted 143 attacks against shipping in the Gulf. Last month, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri threatened to close the strait.”
Iran has a history of using its terror proxies to conduct attacks in order to shield the regime from responsibility and avoid sparking a large-scale war that would surely end in the Islamic Republic’s destruction.
“To avoid international condemnation and direct confrontation with the United States military, Tehran may use covert operators to conduct attacks,” FDD noted in its brief. “This could include the use of divers or crew members to sabotage vessels. Such an approach would be consistent with Tehran’s use of proxies and asymmetrical terrorist attacks. Such tactics enable Tehran to achieve its objectives at a relatively low cost, while evading attribution and consequences.”
Similarly, a weekend rocket attack near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad also bared the hallmark of Iran. Sources in the region told the Washington Free Beacon the attack was likely conducted by Iran’s Hezbollah assets in Iraq.
While Iran could not compete with U.S. forces in a conventional war, the hardline regime in Tehran has focused on developing smaller military vessels that carry sophisticated weaponry suited for fast attacks.
(Washington Free Beacon)