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Iran, China, Russia set to hold joint military drills in Latin America: Report

A photo of the 2019 edition of Sniper Frontier event (by International Army Games website)

Iran, China, and Russia are set to take part in joint military maneuvers hosted by Venezuela next month as the Latin American country pushes for closer ties with Eastern allies amid tensions with the West.

According to the Center for a Secure Free Society, the military drills will be part of the 2022 edition of the International Army Games organized by Russia and hosted by several countries on an annual basis since 2015.

“In mid-August, Venezuela will host the “Sniper Frontier” competition with the participation of Russia, Iran, and China’s military, as well as at least 10 other nations,” said the report.

It went on to suggest that the drills show how the region is ready to distance itself from the unipolar world.

The report noted that the competition is a “strategic move that seeks to preposition forward-deployed military assets in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"The VRIC (Venezuela, Russia, Iran and China) nations are getting ready to make a loud statement that the region is ready to embrace the multipolar force."

The US has in recent years imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China under various flimsy pretexts, which has prompted them to build a new front aimed at confronting the US and its allies. 

The four allies have embarked on the path of boosting relations in different fields in defiance of the illegal sanctions, implying that the unipolar world has ended and the international community should be ready to welcome a new world order.

Russia President Vladimir Putin highlighted this in a speech on June 17 as he stressed that powerful centers other than the US are rising.

“A year and half ago, speaking at the Davos forum, I once again emphasized that the era of the unipolar world order is over…. despite all of the attempts to save it, to preserve it by any means possible. When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities — only interests. They seemingly have not noticed that new power centers have arisen and are getting louder and louder,” he said.

Iran’s strategic agreement with Russia, China, Venezuela

Iran has already signed long-term strategic partnership agreements with China and Venezuela, while also working on a draft agreement with Russia.

More recently, on June 11, Tehran inked a long-term deal with Caracas during Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's visit to Iran.

The partnership agreement includes cooperation in the fields of science, technology, agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, tourism as well as culture.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always sought relations with independent countries in its foreign policy, and Venezuela has resisted the sanctions of the enemies and imperialism and has shown exemplary resistance,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi said in the signing ceremony.

Iran also signed a 25-year strategic partnership agreement with China and began its implementation in January. The pact is meant to strengthen the long-standing economic and political alliance between Iran and China and is viewed as a milestone in their bilateral relations.

What is Sniper Frontier?

The 2021 edition of the competition was held in Vietnam with seven countries in attendance.

According to a Vietnamese website that offers information about the 2021 edition of the event, the competition is comprised of four stages: individual skill assessment, pair assessment, team assessment, and speed assessment.

Participants should use three weapons namely the Makarov K59 pistol, the AK74 automatic rifle, and the 7.62 mm SVD sniper rifle in different stages. Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Russia claimed top ranks of the event respectively.

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