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Twenty years ago, Iran bought a team of military mammals from the Russians. Are they still alive?
- In 2000, Iran bought a fleet of killer dolphins from the Soviet Navy.
- 20 years later we don’t know what happened to these mammals. But if they are still alive, could Iran use them in a possible war against the United States?
- The United States invented the concept of military dolphins in 1960. Today, the Navy trains about 30 dolphins and 30 sea lions at Point Loma Naval Base, San Diego, to track sea mines.
As the US military prepares to face the consequences of the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani earlier this month, it is quite likely that Iran and the militias backed by this Islamic republic decide to carry out all kinds of reprisals, since attacks with traditional missiles to cyber attacks on oil reserves, gas installations, banks, electricity networks and more strategic objectives of this type. To make matters worse, the possibility of the Iranian army using its fleet of murderous dolphins cannot be ruled out. Yes, as you hear it. Although, we have to be honest, we cannot ensure that such a fleet already exists.
Let’s go back 20 years, until the spring of 2000, when a Russian named Boris Zhurid made a painful and fateful sale.
For years, Zhurid was training a pack of killer dolphins for the Soviet Navy, according to the BBC . He and other experts taught mammals to attack and capture enemy swimmers and combat divers, using harpoons tied behind their backs, and take mines to enemy ships in suicide attacks. Apparently, dolphins differentiated between Soviet and foreign submarines because of the sound of the propellers.
But when the funds for that project were exhausted, and the Soviet dolphin program was transferred to the Ukrainian Navy, Zhurid took his animals to a private dolphinarium on the Crimea, where they acted for tourists. But the time came when Zhurid could no longer bear the cost of feeding his dolphins.
“I can’t bear to see my animals starve,” the coach told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda . “We ran out of medicines, which cost thousands of dollars, and we don’t have any more fish or food supplements.”
So Zhurid had to make the hard decision to sell his beloved dolphins, along with walruses, sea lions, seals and a white beluga whale, to an oceanarium made in Iran, where, according to the BBC , the Russian coach ” continue with your scientific research. ” Zhurid did not say what he and his aquatic mercenaries were going to do in his new home, but he did tell Komsomolskaya Pravda that he was “prepared to go with Allah, or even with the devil, as long as my animals are well there.”
We do not know what happened to dolphins in the Persian Gulf since that sale was made in March 2000. Dolphins can live more than 50 years, as Blake Stilwell of Military points out, so these marine soldiers are likely to remain alive. According to Stilwell, Zhurid “could have trained more killer dolphins for use against western shipping.”
In case Iran has decided to rely on these mammals to carry out missions, they are not alone, as Russia regained its military dolphin program in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. In 2016, the Russian Defense Ministry actively searched for dolphins ” with perfect teeth “, while last year, a group of Norwegian fishermen saw a whale with a harness from St. Petersburg, suggesting that the Russian Navy could be recruiting belugas for underwater warfare .
The United States invented the concept of military dolphins. In 1960, the U.S. Navy UU. launched the Marine Mammal Program to investigate the capabilities of underwater sonar of dolphins and beluga whales, and see what could be applied to design their military vessels. The Navy also trained dolphins, sea lions and belugas to transport equipment to divers, track and recover lost objects, and spy underwater with special cameras in their mouths during the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars .
After the Cold War, the Navy reduced and finally declassified the Marine Mammal Program. Today, the Navy trains about 30 dolphins and 30 sea lions at the Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego to track sea mines and mark them for disposal . The advantage of dolphins is that they can search and find mines in an area much faster than humans. These animals are part of the Naval and Space Warfare Systems Center of the Pacific Navy. But could these super-American American dolphins soon get into action?