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China, Russia ready to hold joint naval drills with Iran: Top Navy 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)
This file photo shows naval forces of Iran, Russia and China holding large-scale joint drills in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman on December 27-30, 2019.

Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani says Russia and China have indicated their readiness to hold joint naval maneuvers with Iran.

Speaking in an interview with Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) on Sunday, the Iranian commander said the country's Navy carries out annual maneuvers, adding, "We will also hold drills this year."

"We have invited different countries to take part in the drills, and Russia and China have so far voiced their readiness to do so," Irani noted.

The commander added that different units of Iran's Armed Forces take part in joint maneuvers with other countries.

Russian Ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan said in August that Iran, Russia and China will hold joint maritime exercises – dubbed CHIRU – in the Persian Gulf around late 2021 or early 2022, to ensure international shipping safety and combat piracy.

"At the end of this year or the beginning of the next year, the annual joint naval exercises, CHIRU, will be held in the Persian Gulf region. Russian, Iranian and Chinese warships are taking part in it. The main aim is to practice actions on ensuring international shipping safety, and combating sea pirates," Dzhagaryan said in an interview with Sputnik.

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.

The Sea of Oman is a particularly sensitive waterway as it connects to the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes and which in turn connects to the Persian Gulf.

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