Iranian Navy Joint Exercises

This graph is part of Middle East Security Report 1: Iran's Two Navies-A Maturing Maritime Strategy

"Iran’s public statements reflect a desire to partner with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbors in the maritime domain, arguing that Iran is a more credible partner than Western nations, which it believes are responsible for the instability in the region. Iranian officials have conducted an extensive outreach campaign to make this case to those countries that may be amenable to Iran’s influence."

"Ultimately, these efforts reflect both Iran’s perception of its role as a critical regional power and its emphasis on soft power expansion to deter potential aggression. Overtures may also be designed to split the GCC block between the more amenable Oman and Qatar and the less-friendly states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The timing of these deployments and agreements also coincides with the U.S. drawdown in Iraq and may represent an effort to fill a void Iran perceives to be developing. Iran’s most intriguing evolving relationship may be with Djibouti following the December 2010 visit and subsequent joint military agreement. That move provides Iran influence and potential presence at the strategic Bab-al Mandeb chokepoint."