Iran and Russia send Navy to Indian Ocean for joint drills amid US war fears
Iran: Expert discusses US approach to nuclear deal
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The Iranian army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) joined Russian Navy ships in the northern region of the Indian Ocean on Tuesday. Iranian state television network IRNA claimed the three-day drills, named Maritime Security Belt, will cover about 17,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean.
The exercises are set to include shooting at sea and air targets and liberating hijacked ships, as well as search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.
Iranian Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani insisted the purpose of the drill was to “enhance the security” of maritime trade in the waters.
He added the Iranian and Russian vessels will also look to “confront maritime piracy and terrorism, and exchange information”.
The military official also stated the joint-drills were held to “expand bilateral relations” with Russia.
It marks the second joint Russian-Iranian naval exercise since December 2019, where they and China held maritime drills in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
The Indian Navy also requested and joined the exercise with a select group of vessels, according to the military official.
Adm. Tahani added the joint drills are intended to send a message of “peace and friendship for neighbouring and regional countries”.
He then said: “The exercise we’re conducting with Russia is so flexible that not only one other country, but several others could join in later if they wish to do so.”
Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian navy, also claimed the Chinese navy will participate in the drill.
The military leader stated the joint naval drills shows countries in the region are coming together to ensure their security,
The Iranian Army website quoted him and said: “It means that global arrogance which until today dominated the region must realise that it needs to leave it.”
Adm. Tahani also reported the Iranian frigate Jamaran led the first day’s exercises, while Iranian and Russian navy helicopters provided air monitoring and support.
It follows mounting tensions between Tehran and Washington, with Iran being linked to a missile strike on a US military base in Iraq.
More than a dozen 107mm rockets were fired at the base on Monday, with the group Guardians of Blood taking credit for the attack.
US and Iraqi security officials believe the group are fronts for pro-Iran factions, such as Kataeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
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