Iran launches naval drills with Russia and China

Iran’s navy has launched its first joint maneuvers with Russia and China in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, Iranian state TV reports.

“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship, and lasting security through cooperation and unity…and its result will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” Iranian Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television on December 27.

Russia, meanwhile, called the event “an unprecedented” example of naval cooperation.

Officials in Tehran and Beijing had earlier announced that the maneuvers would run from December 27-30 in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

The exercise was launched from the southeastern port city of Chahbahar in the Gulf of Oman and near the border with Pakistan.

Iranian TV quoted Iran’s navy chief, Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, as saying the drills are designed to heighten security in the region’s crucially important waterways.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian on December 26 said the drills would “deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries.”

He added that the Chinese Navy’s guided missile destroyer Xining was taking part in the maneuvers.