Iranian Navy will hold four-day naval drills with the Russian and Chinese Navy in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The joint naval drills will be the first such trilateral exercise as Iran seeks to advance defence cooperation with China and Russia Moscow who have been Tehran’s traditional supporters. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval officials have also increased in recent years.
Iranian military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint manoeuvres, which are intended at strengthening regional security, will stretch as far as the Sea of Oman. The joint naval exercises between Iran, China and Russia is seen as a response to recent U.S. drills with its regional ally Saudi Arabia, in which China also participated.
In the wake of recent escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf, including attacks on oil vessels and a missile-and-drone assault on the Saudi oil industry, the U.S. has sent a number of American troops to the region and additional missile defence systems to Saudi Arabia.
Washington asserts that Iran carried out the September attack on the world’s largest oil processor in Saudi Arabia which caused oil prices to spike by the biggest percentage since the 1991 Gulf War. While Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels claimed the onslaught, Saudi Arabia said it was “definitely sponsored by Iran.”
Iran vehemently denied these allegations and warned that any retaliatory attack would result in an “all-out war.” Tehran, meanwhile, has also begun enriching uranium beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from over a year ago.