In a move that will “send a message to the world” Iran, China and Russia are set to carry out their first ever-joint military exercises in the “near future.”
Rear, Iran’s commander of its navy, made the announcement amongst the continuing tensions between Arab Gulf countries and the United States.
In his press conference reporters were informed of the joint exercises that would take place in the southern waters of the Indian Ocean, with the Iranian navy working beside the Russian and Chinese navies. Although the planning and design for these activities were completed in October, he also confirmed the troops were getting ready for the action, which may happen during December.
Semi-official Mehr news agency has also quoted Khanzadi as stating the joint operation would “send a message to the world.”
“A joint war-game between several countries, whether on land, at sea or in the air, indicates a remarkable expansion of cooperation. [The drills] carry the same message to the world, that these three countries have reached a meaningful strategic point in their relations. We do not condone the kind of security that only caters to the benefits of one specific country at a specific time and which disregards the security of others.”
The move will ensure there is “collective security” at sea following months of unsure tensions throughout the Middle East. Many see the fact that the announcement was made on Navy Day, a day that celebrates the success of the Iranian Navy throughout the Iran-Iraq War in 1980, as highly significant.
It is claimed these exercises have been arranged in keeping with Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) recommendations and are aimed at improving security in the area. Established in 2008, IONS holds meetings every other year to discuss maritime issues and promote friendships between the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. The last meeting was held in 2018 in Tehran.
When asked if Iran was prepared for counter attacks Khanzadi confirmed “the Iranian Armed Forces enjoy very high capabilities, 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.”
This summer has seen several attacks on oil facilities belonging to Saudi Arabia as well as Gulf tankers with America laying the blame on Iran. A British-flagged vessel was seized by Tehran in ‘retaliation’ for an Iranian tanker being captured off the coast of Gibraltar.
In a further act of retaliation America – and Britain – increased their military presence in the region, causing tensions in the Middle East to increase dramatically, causing experts to issue a warning that any further action – in particular in the Strait of Hormuz – could have severe consequences on the world’s oil supply.
Following the shooting down of a US drone by Islamic Republic in June, Trump threatened air strikes against Iran, however these were subsequently cancelled. There has also been the issue of Iran distancing itself from their nuclear pact with the West, thanks to President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.
Further sanctions against Iran, that were suspended under the deal and therefore causing severe damage to Iran’s economy, were officially reinstated by Washington in November 2018. This has led to Iran asking Europe to help them avoid the sanctions, yet despite efforts by Germany, Britain and France, these pleas have so far been unsuccessful, leaving Tehran feeling they had no choice but to take drastic steps to abolish the nuclear deal and hopefully forcing assistance from Europe.
Protests have erupted in Iran after the sanctions led to a significant increase in petrol prices with Amnesty International believing around 143 people have been killed in an attempt to stop the protests. This is something Iran disputes as they say there is no evidence to support this statement.
However on a recent visit to London, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – recently charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery – has claimed the protests are a ‘dangerous conspiracy’ against the government that are backed by both Israel and America.
It was announced by the head of Iran’s nuclear programme that they had increased the number of banned IR-6 centrifuges they were running with President Hassan Rouhani announcing they would be injecting uranium gas into over 1,000 centrifudges at a secret location – another encroachment on the agreement.
Although experts fear such technology could theoretically mean nuclear weapons would be produced in the next 12 months, Iran has always insisted its atomic programme was purely to for peaceful reasons and has denied making nuclear weapons.