The three nations are holding unprecedented joint naval drills that focus on honing anti-piracy and counter-terrorist tactics. The exercise takes place in the Gulf of Oman, which saw multiple maritime incidents this year.

A section of the drills is also set to take place in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean.

Brief footage, released by Iranian state media, shows a warm welcome to Russian frigate Yaroslav Mudry received at Chabahar port in southern Iran, as well as a number of the country’s own vessels sailing.

The main point of the exercise is to “bolster security of international maritime commerce,” as well as training aimed at “combatting piracy and terrorism,” Iranian flotilla Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on Friday.

“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity… and its result will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” he added.

The participants are expected to partake in shooting exercises, fend off attacks of mock pirates as well as practice putting out burning ships.

Other participants of the exercise have stressed their peaceful and defensive nature as well. Moscow, for instance, said the drills are not meant to intimidate any nations of the region, while Beijing said the exercise was not linked to the tense situation in the area.

The waters around Iran saw a number of maritime incidents this year, that began with a mysterious attack on four merchant ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, at UAE port the Gulf of Oman. Despite a lack of any solid evidence, the blame for the incident was pinned on Iran by the US and its allies. A similar incident occurred in June, when two oil tankers were damaged by what appeared to be limpet mines while transiting the Gulf of Oman – and Tehran was blamed yet again.

The string of mystery attacks prompted the creation of a US-led joint force to patrol the Strait of Hormuz and adjacent waters in order to protect merchant traffic. The initiative sparked an angry reaction in Tehran, which said it’s able to protect these waters on its own and argued that the presence of foreign navies only harms the region’s security.


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