Iran says it has added two mini submarines to its naval fleet

The inauguration of one the submarine was in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz. (AP)
Updated 29 November 2018
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Iran says it has added two mini submarines to its naval fleet

  • The subs have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water
  • Midget submarines weigh less than 150 metric tons and are used for short missions

TEHRAN: Iran’s navy has acquired two new mini submarines designed for operations in shallow waters such as the Arabian Gulf, the Iranian state TV reported on Thursday.

The report said one of the mini submarines — also known as midget submarines — was dubbed Ghadir-955 and was built in 18 months. The other, a previously built Ghadir-942, took 10 months to overhaul.

The subs have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water, as well as fire torpedoes and drop marine mines, the TV said. Iran began manufacturing Ghadir subs in 2005. The first was unveiled in 2007 and by 2012, five such submarines were incorporated into Iran’s navy.

Midget submarines weigh less than 150 metric tons and are used for short missions, with no living accommodations for a crew of up to nine.

The TV broadcast footage of the inauguration of one the submarine in southern port of Bandar Abbas, at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.

At the ceremony, Adm. Mojtaba Mohammadi said the sub is the 14th Iran-made vessel that joined the navy. Iran does not disclose the total number of submarines in its fleet. However, it is believed to have some 12 light and three Russian-made submarines.

Iran, which has been developing its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes as a part of an arms development program initiative since 1992, often boasts of new achievements or acquisitions that cannot dependently be verified.


Jordan’s PM appeals for more aid as most Syrian refugees set to stay

Updated 58 min 49 sec ago
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Jordan’s PM appeals for more aid as most Syrian refugees set to stay

  • Jordan PM says most refugees not returning yet
  • Amman says funding crucial to keep economy afloat

AMMAN: Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz appealed on Wednesday to major donors to continue multi-billion dollar funding for Syrian refugees in the kingdom, saying most of those who had fled the eight-year conflict had no intention of returning any time soon.
Razzaz told representatives of major Western donors, UN agencies and NGOs that relatively few refugees had gone back since Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s army last summer regained control of southern Syria, where most had fled from.
“The number of refugees that so far returned voluntarily is low and most have no intention of going back any time soon,” Razzaz told a meeting to launch a UN-funded government plan that earmarks $2.4 billion in funding needs for 2019.
Officials say only around 10,000 refugees out of a total estimated at 1.3 million had left since the two countries opened the vital Nassib-Jaber border crossing last October.
Razzaz echoed the UN view that unstable conditions inside Syria, where large-scale destruction, fear of retribution and military conscription has made many reluctant to return.
“We are now entering a new phase of the Syrian crisis, however the impact is still ongoing. The conditions for their return are not present,” Razzaz added.
The prime minister warned against donor fatigue in a protracted crisis where the needs of refugees and vulnerable Jordanians were largely unchanged.
Maintaining funding that covers education, health and crucial services for tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and local communities was crucial to ease rising pressures on the debt-burdened economy, he added.
“Aid helped Jordan in staying resilient in a difficult regional setting,” Razzaz said, adding the refugee burden had strained meagre resources such as water and electricity, with a donor shortfall covered from state finances.
Jordan is struggling to rein in record public debt of $40 billion, equivalent to 95 percent of gross domestic product, under a tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity plan.
Major donors say more than $6 billion had been extended to Jordan since 2015, which economists credit for rejuvenating once sleepy northern border towns, while refugee entrepreneurship brought a pool of cheap labor and new skills, triggering a property boom and higher productivity.
The kingdom received around $1.6 billion last year alone.
“The level of funding to Jordan that still remains is exceptional in global comparison,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Anders Pedersen, adding needs had evolved from the humanitarian aid required early in the conflict to development projects that benefit the economy.