Navies from Iran’s Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are taking part in the “2022 Marine Security Belt” exercise over an area of 17,000 square kilometers, said Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajoddini, the spokesman for the drills, on national TV.
The drills will include various tactical exercises such as rescuing a burning vessel, releasing a hijacked vessel, and shooting at air targets at night.
He said the exercises began in the early hours of Friday morning.
The three countries started joint naval drills in 2019 in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area, Tajoddini said.
“The purpose of this drill is to strengthen security and its foundations in the region, and to expand multilateral cooperation between the three countries to jointly support world peace, maritime security and create a maritime community with a common future,” he added.
“At this stage of the exercise, the vessel units of Iran, China, and Russia, under the command of the Iranian destroyer Jamaran, fired from 20mm caliber weapons at pre-determined surface targets at sea,” Tajoddini said.
“Also, in the next stage, the ‘PHOTOEX’ exercise, including the formulation and offensive arrangement of the units participating in the exercise, was carried out in accordance with the threats in the region,” he added.
The spokesman said Iran’s presence in international coalitions manifests the improvement of the Islamic Republic’s standing in the world, Press TV reported.
He said Iran attaches great importance to the establishment of security at the regional and international levels.
“That’s why the naval forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow any threat in the maritime field.”
A member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said the exercises are a show of force by the regional powers against foreigners.
“Since foreign countries are always looking for insecurity in the region, holding this exercise will definitely send a good message to foreigners,” Fada-Hossein Maleki told Fars News Agency.
Since coming to office last August, Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi has pursued a “Look to the East” policy to deepen ties with China and Russia. Tehran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in September, a Central Asian security body led by Beijing and Moscow, Reuters reported.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited China last week and Iran’s president met his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday.