Navy Commander: Iran seeking to conduct joint naval drills with regional states in Caspian Sea

FNA – Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said his country is seeking to stage a joint naval drill in the Caspian Sea with participation of regional states after the recent successful drill with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman.

“We are seeking to achieve collective security in the Caspian Sea and for that purpose we are inviting regional countries to join us in the drills,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi said in a televised interview on Sunday night

The Iranian Navy commander, meantime, discussed the details of Iran’s joint naval drill with Russia and China in the Northern part of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman dubbed as the ‘Marine Security Belt’ which wrapped up on Sunday.

“There is no threat facing the Persian Gulf region except for the presence of foreign forces such as the US, which are endangering the security of this region,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi added.

He also said the drill, which covered an area of 17,000 square kilometers this time, would expand to further areas for future exercises.

Rear Admiral Khanzadi said that the reason for holding the joint drill in the Northern part of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman was that this region was in need of more coordination for staging drills and providing security.

He noted that the three countries of Iran, Russia and China have agreed to stage the joint naval drill every year.

Iran, Russia and China started the joint “Marine Security Belt” drills in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area on Friday morning.

The event was the first such cooperation with Iran since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

It came amid US efforts to woo countries into a maritime coalition for patrols in the Persian Gulf, which have received lukewarm welcome from its allies.

On Wednesday, Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the event was meant to promote the security of international trade in the strategic regions, adding that sharing experience in maritime rescue operations was also to be pursued in the maneuvers.

He said that Iran has proved that it always tries to maintain peace in the international waterways, especially this important area.