Iran holding joint naval drills with Russia, China in coming months


Iran holding joint naval drills with Russia, China in coming months
An Iranian naval vessel participating in a drill with the Russian navy on February 17, 2021. Iranian Army via AP

Three of America’s biggest adversaries — China, Iran and Russia — plan to hold naval exercises in the Persian Gulf either later this year or early next year, the Russian ambassador to Iran said Monday.

Levan Dzhagaryan told the RIA Novosti news agency the drills are meant to “practice actions to ensure the safety of international shipping and the fight against sea pirates.”

The three nations held the first of their joint exercises, which Dzhagaryan called “CHIRU,” in 2019. Separately, Iran and Russia held a joint naval drill in the northern Indian Ocean in February of this year.

Moscow’s man in Tehran noted Monday that he expected the exercise to be an annual event among the three nations.

The news comes as the US struggles to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was reconquered by the Taliban Islamic fundamentalist group earlier this month in a lightning offensive.

Last week, Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, spoke with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. A readout from the Iranian government reported that Raisi told Xi Iran was ready to cooperate with China in establishing security, stability and peace in Afghanistan.

“We believe that the departure of foreigners, as well as past experiences in this country, has highlighted the need for the support and participation of all Afghans to ensure the security and development of Afghanistan more than ever,” the Iranian leader was quoted as saying.

Iran holding joint naval drills with Russia, China in coming months
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has recently met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Photo by ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Raisi spoke separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin and told him that “establishing security and peace in Afghanistan has always been emphasized by Iran and we believe that all Afghan active groups should work together to establish stability in the country as soon as possible and make the US withdrawal to a turning point for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Raisi also praised what he described as Iranian-Russian cooperation in Syria, where the combined forces of Moscow and Tehran have boosted Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and turned the tide of that country’s long-running civil war in its favor.

Meanwhile, Raisi met Sunday with Japan’s foreign minister, marking the first visit to Iran by a Japanese official since 2019. Last week, the United Nations nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20 percent for the first time, and has significantly increased its production capacity of uranium enriched up to 60 percent.

The governments of Britain, France, and Germany accused Tehran of “serious violations” of the 2015 nuclear deal — which all three European nations signed. Iran insists it is not interested in developing a bomb, and that the uranium metal is for its civilian nuclear program.

With Post wires