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Iran, Russia to hold 2nd joint naval drills in Indian Ocean: Commander

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran, Russia and China hold joint military exercise in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean in December 29, 2019.

Iran and Russia will soon hold their second naval drills in the northern part of the Indian Ocean in a show of the power of their armed forces, says a high-ranking Iranian military official.

Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army for Coordination Affairs Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told reporters on Sunday that the joint drills by Iran and Russia will be held with the goal of expanding security in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

“When the powerful Russian Navy conducts maneuvers in conjunction with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), it carries a clear message,” he said.

He added that Iran’s Navy has reached the “level of world naval powers in terms of equipment, workforce, techniques and tactics, command and control, communication and access to modern equipment."

The commander said Iran has been facing various kinds of threat posed by extra-regional countries since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Enemies have put forward various plans in this regard, all of which have failed" due to the Islamic establishment’s authority and the Armed Forces’ deterrent power, he said.

Late in December 2019, Iran, Russia and China staged a four-day joint maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area.

The drills, dubbed the ‘Marine Security Belt’ exercise, covered 17,000 square kilometers and consisted of various tactical exercises such as target practicing and rescuing ships from assault and incidents such as fires.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the joint naval drills among Iran, China and Russia reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s resolve to secure vital waterways.

"Our joint military drills in Oman Sea/Indian Ocean w/ our Russian & Chinese partners make clear our broader commitment to secure vital waterways," Zarif said in a post on his official Twitter account.

In an address to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defense Ministers’ Conclave in Bangalore earlier this month, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami warned against attempts by outsiders to provoke an arms race in the Indian Ocean and turn it into a weapons stockpile, saying colonial powers are militarizing the strategic region to sell more arms and advance their own economic interests.

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