China, Iran and Russia begin joint naval drill in Gulf of Oman

In this file photo provided by the Iranian Army, warships sail in the Sea of Oman during the second day of joint Iran, Russia and China naval war games on Dec. 28 2019
In this file photo provided by the Iranian Army, warships sail in the Sea of Oman during the second day of joint Iran, Russia and China naval war games on Dec. 28 2019 Copyright Associated Press
Copyright Associated Press
By Euronews with AP
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Footage aired on Chinese state television showed the Chinese, Iranian and Russian navies conducting a joint exercise in the Gulf of Oman, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

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China, Iran and Russia have begun a joint naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, a crucial waterway near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, officials said Tuesday.

Footage aired by Chinese state television and a video released by the Russian navy showed the ongoing drill, known as “Marine Security Belt 2024.”

China sent the guided-missile destroyer Urumqi and the guided-missile frigate Linyi to the exercise. Russia's forces are being led by the Varyag, a Slava-class cruiser.

More than 20 ships, support vessels and combat boats from the three countries, as well as naval helicopters, are involved in the exercise.

A report by Iranian state television quoted the drill’s spokesperson, Admiral Mostafa Tajaddini, as saying the drill will take place in 17,000 square kilometres of water.

Tajaddini added that the three nations’ drill – their fourth since 2019 – was also meant to improve trade while confronting “piracy and terrorism, support to humanitarian activities and the exchange of information in the field of rescue,” among other goals.

An Iranian military boat patrols as a warship enters the Iranian waters prior to start of a joint naval drill of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean.
An Iranian military boat patrols as a warship enters the Iranian waters prior to start of a joint naval drill of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean.AP/AP

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan and South Africa are observers of the drill.

Iran has stepped up its military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow in response to regional tensions with the United States, including supplying military drones to Russia now being used in Moscow's war on Ukraine.

The Gulf of Oman has seen a series of attacks since 2019 that the US has blamed on Iran, as well as ship seizures by Tehran, since the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.

A fifth of all oil traded passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf's narrow mouth.

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