IRAN: GROWING THREAT TO PERSIAN GULF SHIPPING

Created: 5/30/1987

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Special Analysis

Threat to Persian Quit Shipping

'ran hea Increased (ts military presence In tne Guff over lee past veer and poses rhe greatest throat to maritimeand Uttne region./ continue to conduct selectiveaciei, focusing on ships trading wfthIncluding unescorted Soviet- end uS-Ueg commercis/ ships, /ran i.o prooeor art opportunity to attackscorted ship, ft probably would prefer to avoid atoreign warabip, aiiiiougii eucho face Increased1

The Iranians have attackedhips this year, with the rate of attack increasing rapidly over the pest eight weeks. Iranian naval foroea have attacked seven ships this month, two since the Iraqi strike on the USS Stark. The quickened pace suggests mounting frustration In Tehran over Iraqi attacks last month, Kuwait's steadfast support for Iraq, and Kuwait'? efforts to enlist US and Soviet protection for Kuwaiti shipping. Tehran's harsh criticism of Kuwait, the USSR, and the USfurther, possibly more aggressrve, sttacks on shipping.

Capabilities

hasariety of weapons and tactics in Its attacks on shipping. In the lower Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian destroyers and frigates have used Seakiner aurlace-to-surface missiles and naval gunfire. They have also helped locate, identify, and track potential targets tor attack by helicopters or fast patrol boats Iran may have ueed small boats tojavrriines near Kuwait that have damaged two ships this month.*|

nother.

The Iranians have also used fighter aircraft armed with Msverick missiles and helicopters armed wiih wire-guided antitank missiles. More recently, small boats carrying recollless rifles, rocket grenades, and machlneguns have fired at tankers. Although sucfi attacks have caused little damage, they are more difficult to avoid because they can occur with little warning and can be launchedariety of basesi.iciudlng coastal naval statlons^-nail islands, offshore oS platforms, snd larger navaljj

TheSilkworm) surface-to-surface ant more destructive weeoon In Iran's

ykilogram) warhead-seven limes larger than that of iheleT

nd Constraints

Iran's ability to use Its naval forcesy wvenrry Hmitrtdequipment problems. Cannibal ballon and Innovative repairs neve V'jsSwV kept the Navy's larger ships operable; an needowever, end Iran has only Bmfled repair and drydoek racarbae. Moreerweepcmar>doc^

support sterna are Increasingly

Despite theae imitations. Iran has tha forcee lo IncrBaae Ms antishipping operations, especiaJtync*ntratea on shipsod tor Kuwait.^

nran maylauncn artacs simulUneouary bWghout the Guff

rease the vulnerability of shipping, (ran maymeS boat or

n attackS-eecorted tarrkerid to humiliate one of the superpowers by showing thai its warships cannot stop

aaafJl^LVaBBBfeDIA and 1NR disagree with the above with respectissue ol the likelihood of Iranian attacks on ur>escortedSoviet- and US-flag ships. We assess the likelihood ofon an escorted, ahlp as low and on an unescorted ship

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