Iran, Russia to hold naval drills

January 6, 2019

TEHRAN - Navy Chief Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Sunday that Iran and Russia plan to hold joint naval drills in the Caspian Sea in the near future.

“Tactical, search and rescue and anti-piracy drills between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future,” the Mehr news agency quoted Khanzadi as saying.

He noted that the Iranian and Russia naval forces have expanded cooperation in the Caspian Sea region over the past years.

The commander also said the Caspian Sea states are opposed to presence of extra-regional countries in the region.

In a meeting in the Kazakh port city of Aqtau on August 12, 2018, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan signed a new convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. A clause in the convention prevents non-Caspian countries from deploying military forces on the sea.

“Caspian Sea is a sea of peace and friendship and all its littoral states follow this approach,” the admiral remarked.

Iran and Russia have held several naval drills in the Caspian Sea, including in July 2017.

The drills are in line with strengthening friendly relations and development of maritime cooperation between the Caspian Sea littoral states.

Khanzadi met with Deputy Chief of the Russian Army General Staff Vice-Admiral Igor Osipov in Tehran in December.

On the sidelines of a meeting, Khanzadi said that cooperation between the naval forces of Iran and Russia will be expanded.

NA/PA

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