Iran's Naval Power Growing, Experts Warn
Analysts point to threat to US ships in Persian Gulf
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 27, 2012 7:57 AM CDT
In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 file photo, Iranian navy speed boats attend a drill in the sea of Oman.   (AP Photo/IIPA, Ali Mohammadi)

(Newser) – With a host of new boats, submarines, and anti-ship missiles, Iran's navy is quickly gaining power—and that could pose a serious threat to US ships in the Persian Gulf, analysts tell the Washington Post. American Navy officials believe the US would come out on top in any showdown, but Iran's improved missile accuracy and its ability to "swarm" US ships with patrol boats make it a force to be reckoned with, according to experts.

Indeed, the US could face a "360-degree threat environment" amid potential attacks from land, sea, and air, says an intelligence official. "This is the scenario that is giving people nightmares." The US is preparing for such swarms, but Iran could still claim victory if it dealt early damage. Closer to home, an analyst says it's "naive" to believe Iran couldn't "launch attacks in the United States"—and the threat would grow in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. There's a "50-50" chance of such an Israeli strike happening before the election, says a US-based expert.