The naval forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China have kicked off a four-day joint maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area.
The drills, attended by both the Iranian Army’s Navy and the IRGC Navy, have been codenamed “Marine Security Belt”.
The beginning of the drills was announced by Rear Admiral Gholam-Reza Tahani in a press conference along the coasts of Chabahar port city, south-east of Iran.
At a news conference on Wednesday, senior Spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint exercises will last until Monday.
Referring to the importance of the maneuver, he said the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman are key areas for the world trade, and many countries navigate through this region, so providing its security is of crucial significance.
He said the exchange of security experience between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing and counter-terrorism and piracy as well as countering terrorism and piracy are among the other goals of the drill.
Shekarchi further noted that the security achievements of this exercise will be for all countries of the world and it will lead to more stability.
The Iranian general also said that the other goal of the exercise is to gain and exchange experience in the field of marine rescue operations, which will be carried out since the launch of the exercise.
Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson said on Thursday the United States is monitoring the joint drills.
“We are aware of the multilateral exercise being conducted between Iran, China, and Russia in the Arabian Sea”, Robertson said.
“We are monitoring it and will continue to work with our partners and allies to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waterways”.
The event is the first such cooperation with Iran since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
It comes amid US efforts to woo countries into a maritime coalition for patrols in the Persian Gulf, which have received lukewarm welcome from its allies.