China, Russia and Iran begin joint naval drills

The four-day exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman comes at a time of heightened tensions between US and Iran.

Al Jazeera
Date: 27 Dec 2019

The Russian Navy Neustrashimyy-class frigate ‘Yaroslav Mudry’ moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills [Iranian Army office/AFP]

Iran has kicked off the first joint naval drill with Russia and China in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, Iranian state TV has reported.

The four-day exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions since the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May last year.

"The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity … and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated," Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.

Tahani added that the drills included rescuing ships on fire or vessels under attack by pirates and shooting exercises, with both Iran's navy and its Revolutionary Guards participating.

State television showed what it said was a Russian warship arriving at Chabahar port in southern Iran and said the Chinese will join shortly, calling the three countries "the new triangle of power in the sea".

"The aim of this drill is to bolster security of international maritime commerce, combatting piracy and terrorism and sharing information … and experience," the flotilla commander said.
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