Iran aims to “exploit enemy vulnerabilities through the used of ‘swarming’ tactics by well-armed small boats and fast-attack craft, to mount surprise attacks at unexpected times and places” which will “ultimately destroy technologically superior enemy forces,” writes Iranian military expert Fariborz Haghshenass in a 2008 study based on published doctrines of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
In any future fight, Iran would likely “avoid escalating the conflict in a way that would play to US strengths in waging mid- to high-intensity warfare – by employing discreet tactics such as covert mine-laying, limited submarine options, and occasional mobile shore-based attacks,” writes Mr. Haghshenass, in the study for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
In fact, Iran has many options short of a direct challenge in the Persian Gulf.
“Iran could seek to create perpetual, low-grade instability in the strait, mostly through asymmetric means, with the objective of making it an aquatic ‘no-man’s land,’ ” says Reza Sanati, in an analysis published by the Tehran Bureau/PBS Frontline website. “For Iran, the choice is not ‘to close’ or ‘not to close,’ but rather to clog. A major global choke point, once considered safe, would no longer be so.”