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Iran announces joint drills with Russia and China, says it is ready for US threats Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iran announces joint drills with Russia and China, says it is ready for US threats

(Photo by Mohsen Shandiz/Corbis via Getty Images)

Date of publication: 28 November, 2019

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Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian navy, has announced in a press conference that Iran will be conducting joint naval drills with Iran and Russia in the Indian Ocean.
The commander of Iran's navy announced on Wednesday joint Iranian, Chinese and Russian naval exercises in the Indian Ocean as tensions rise with the United States and Arab Gulf countries.

In a press conference, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told reporters that the maritime branch of the Iranian military would be launching joint exercises alongside the Chinese and Russian navies, in the southern waters in the Indian ocean, and said another drill could take placde before the end of the year.

The drills are organised in line with the recommendations of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). They carry the aim of increasing security in the southern Indian ocean, in coordination with permanent naval missions stationed there, according to its official statements.

Khanzadi stated the initial plans for these drills had been drafted and that the all militaries were on standby.

Read also: Iranians are caught between biting sanctions and a brutal crackdown

On the topic of Iranian preparedness in counter international threats, he said "the Iranian Armed Forces enjoy very high capabillities, and the United States does not have the courage for a direct confrontation with Iran, and that is why it uses proxy agents, such as terrorist groups, to advance its goals".

IONS, a symposium composed of littoral states of the Indian Ocean region, was established in 2008, to increase maritime security cooperation. The 6th meeting of IONS was held in Tehran in 2018.

In August 2018, Iran staged a major military exercise in the Arab Gulf.

Those drills were perceived to be aimed at demonstrating Iran's ability to close a strategic oil shipping lane, as tensions with the US continue to escalate since President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and renewed sanctions on Tehran.

Iran is currently facing a wave of protests triggered by a sharp rise in petrol prices, after a year and a half of biting the sanctions reimposed by President Donald Trump that aim to contain Iran's regional role.

Amnesty International says it believes at least 143 people have been killed in a crackdown on the protests, something Iran disputes without offering any evidence to support its claims.

On Thursday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the mass protests against the government as a "dangerous conspiracy", backed in part by the US and Israel.

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