Publication:
IRAN'S CHALLENGE TO THE U.S. IN THE MARITIME DOMAIN

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Authors
Ostrom, Jacob D.
Subjects
Iran
maritime domain
IRGCN
IRIN
Persian Gulf
Strait of Hormuz
gray zone conflict
self-reliance
asymmetric warfare
Tanker War
Advisors
Ostovar, Afshon P.
Date of Issue
2021-09
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis examines how Iran attempts to challenge the United States in the maritime domain. Iranian strategic thinking is discussed to better understand their views on self-reliance and national defense. The thesis then defines asymmetric naval warfare and how the strategy aims to counter perceived threats. Historical background is provided to understand how Iran's naval force developed. The shift in Iran's approach to the maritime domain, from conventional sea power to asymmetric naval warfare, is explained in reference to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Tanker War is used to demonstrate Iran's first application of asymmetric warfare in the maritime domain. An examination of Iran's current assets among its naval forces, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) and the Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy (IRIN), seeks to understand how Iran has evolved in the maritime domain. The IRGCN is examined in relation to its primary objective of Persian Gulf defense. The IRIN is examined in relation to its "blue-water" naval capability and use in cultivating partnerships. The research indicates Iran can credibly impact U.S. naval operations in the Persian Gulf and achieve security objectives within the maritime domain through the use of its current asymmetric naval threats. Iran's naval forces reinforce the Islamic Republic's ambitions for regional hegemony and provide an opportunity for future influence beyond the Persian Gulf.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Organization
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NPS Report Number
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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