The trilateral naval drills in the Indian Ocean send a message to the US administration that Washington’s efforts to isolate Iran has failed and that Russia and China will not cave in to the hostile policy, says a British academic and economic advisor.
John Ross, a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies in London, made the remark during a Friday edition of Press TV’s The Debate program. He was commenting on a four-day joint naval exercise that Iran, Russia and China started in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman in a bid to boost the security of the region’s waterways.
The exercise kicked off on Friday from Iran’s southeastern port city of Chabahar in the Gulf of Oman and near the border with Pakistan, covering 17,000 square kilometers and consisting of various tactical exercises, such as target practice and rescuing ships from assaults and fires.
Other major objectives include improving the security of international maritime trade, countering maritime piracy and terrorism, and gaining operational and tactical experience.
“I think it’s sending a message that you are not going to have a situation whereby one country is determining what’s happening in the world. It’s a warning that the United States’ claim that Iran is going to be isolated will not be accepted by China or Russia and these are two of the most powerful countries in the world, so that’s a big geopolitical message,” Ross told Press TV on Friday.
“You can’t have a much more demonstrative view of whether Iran is isolated than the fact that there are Chinese and Russian warships there,” he added.
The British academic and economic advisor went on to say that, “There are some crazy people in the US administration who think of having some sort of military conflict with Iran. Now, I think that the recent events, in particular the problems in Saudi Arabia, made them think about this again because they realized that you are not going to have one if there is an attack on Iran, you cannot confine it to Iran and [there are] going to be consequences throughout the region.”
Mike Billington, an editor with the Asia Desk of the Executive Intelligence Review from Virginia, was the other panelist invited to The Debate program, who described the trilateral naval drills as a message to “war hawks in the United States.”
Billington also referred to the exercise as “the military aspect of the Belt and Road program,” also known as the One Belt One Road project.
The program, championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, through an infrastructure network on the lines of the ancient Silk Road.
The US, which is currently engaged in a massive trade dispute with China, views the vast Asian country as a direct threat to its economic dominance and has expressed pessimism about Xi's infrastructure plan.
The Friday drills come at a time of heightened tensions since the United States withdrew, in May last year, from the landmark nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015.
US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.
In response to the unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield mutual trade from the US sanctions.
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