Chinese, Russian warships join naval exercise with Iran

AFP , Tuesday 12 Mar 2024

Chinese and Russian warships have entered Iranian territorial waters for a joint naval exercise with Iran, state media reported Tuesday.

This handout picture provided by the Iranian Defence Ministry on March 12, 2024 shows (bottom) Iran Navy frigate IRIS Dena (75) at sea during the Maritime Security Belt 2024 combined naval exercise between Iran, Russia, and China in the Gulf of Oman. AFP


This year's manoeuvres come with Middle East tensions soaring in the face of Israel's war on Gaza that has drawn in Iranian allies around the region pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza, including Yemen's Houthi rebels who have launched an offensive on Israel-linked vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, drawing Western reprisals.

"The naval units of China and Russia entered the territorial waters of our country to take part in the combined maritime exercise," Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

The manoeuvres, aimed at "jointly maintaining regional maritime security", will begin in the Gulf of Oman on Tuesday night, IRNA said, citing their spokesman, Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajoddini.

The Chinese defence ministry said it had sent a destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship to take part in the joint exercise.

Russian state media reported that a detachment of ships from the country's Pacific Fleet, led by the cruiser Varyag, docked in the Iranian port of Chabahar on Monday ahead of the drills.

"The practical part of the exercise will take place in the waters of the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea," Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying.

"The main purpose of the manoeuvres is to work out the safety of maritime economic activity."

The three countries, which have all had difficult relations with the West in recent years, held joint manoeuvres in the same waters in March last year under the name "Security Bond 2023".

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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