China, Russia and Iran to hold trilateral naval drills

Ships from the Russian and Chinese navies conducting a joint maritime patrol in October 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (REUTERS) - China, Russia and Iran will hold joint naval drills on Friday (Jan 21), a public relations official from Iran's armed forces told semi-official Isna news agency on Thursday.

The "2022 Marine Security Belt" exercise will take place in the north of the Indian Ocean and is the third joint naval drill between the three countries, Mr Mostafa Tajoldin added.

Since coming to office last June, Iran's hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has pursued a "look east" policy to deepen ties with China and Russia. Teheran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in September, a central Asian security body led by Beijing and Moscow.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited China last week and Iran's President was meeting his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Thursday.

China, Russia and Iran started joint naval drills in 2019, and will continue them in the future, Mr Tajoldin said.

"The purpose of this drill is to strengthen security and its foundations in the region, and to expand multilateral cooperation between the three countries to jointly support world peace, maritime security and create a maritime community with a common future," the Iranian official told Isna.

Both navies from Iran's armed forces and Revolutionary Guards will take part in the drills, which include various tactical exercises such as rescuing a burning vessel, releasing a hijacked vessel, and shooting at air targets at night.

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