The excerpted article from Iran’s official diplomatic news website, IranDiplomacy, suggests that Iranian officials worry about the implication of Israeli ties to Gulf Cooperation Council states, which lay less than 200 miles across the Persian Gulf from Iran’s coast. As Israel develops diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, Iranian officials grow increasingly concerned that these states could provide Israel with a military foothold less than a half hour flying time from Iran’s southern border.

It is within this context that the visit of the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Navy (IRGC-N), Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, to Greater Tonb Island is important. In 1970, two years after the British government announced its impending withdrawal from areas east of the Suez Canal, the Iranian Navy launched an assault on Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands, each of which are internationally recognized as belonging to the UAE. The islands are strategically important because they dominate the waters as ships move from the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. The IRGC has long fortified these islands. During his visit, Tangsiri condemned rapprochement with Israel, essentially threatening Abu Dhabi that any cooperation with Jerusalem will risk Emirati security. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and will also understand the implied threat given previous Iranian efforts to incite Bahrain’s majority Shi’ite population against the Sunni monarchy. The discussion of the IRGC-N and fortifications on Greater Tonb Islands more broadly can pose a threat to international shipping. Indeed, Tangsiri speaks effusively about the IRGC-N’s seizure of Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf on 27 May.

Khomeini was satisfied, which is the best medal of honor for us.

Source: “Sardar Tangsiri dar Bazdid az Jazireh-e Tonb-e Bozorg: Emruz Amniyat-e Motalubi ba Hamkari Keshvarha-ye Hamsayeh dar Hawzeh-e Khaliji Fars Vujud Darad (Admiral Tangsiri visiting Greater Tonb Island: Today there is good security with the cooperation of neighboring Persian Gulf countries),” (Iran’s official diplomatic news website), 11 June 2022.

Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps- Navy [IRGC-N], visited units stationed on Greater Tonb Island to check the condition of fortifications and engineering structures, passive defense and to assess combat readiness…

Admiral Tangsiri, referring to the recent order of the Supreme Leader and his appreciation and satisfaction for the performance of the Marines, which raised national pride and fulfilled Iranian zeal, said: By seizing the offending Greek tankers, the deputy of the Mahdi, Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini was satisfied, which is the best medal of honor for us.

The commander of IRCG-Navy said, “Today, there is good security with the cooperation and synergy of neighboring countries in the geographical area of the Persian Gulf. If anyone opens the door to this region of the miserable regime, the child-killing regime and the number one enemy, that is Zionism, for any reason, he will cause insecurity, disorder and instability to the region.”

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