Role of the Navy
In late 1987, an accurate estimate of Iranian naval capability
was difficult. In the November 1980 offensive against Iraqi ports
and oil facilities, Iran lost at least two corvettes and two missile
boats. Nevertheless, the Iranian navy was able to supply Abadan
by night (with food and arms for the armed forces and the remaining
civilians) until late 1981, when Iranian forces regained the city.
Lacking parts and qualified personnel, few Iranian ships were
deployed outside limited coastal areas, where their main functions
were patrol and search missions. The Iranian navy stopped and
searched hundreds of ships suspected of carrying military equipment
destined for Iraq. Beginning in 1984, some Iranian military elements
such as the Pasdaran also assaulted ships in the Persian Gulf.
In May 1987, reliable sources reported that a Soviet ship was
assaulted by a Pasdaran unit speedboat; such Pasdaran raids were
largely ineffective, however, because of the weapons used--machine
guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Data as of December 1987