Iran, China, Russia start 5-day navy exercises in Gulf of Oman
Iran, China and Russia started a joint military drill on Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman, close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps are joining Tehran’s naval forces in the exercises which will last until 19 March.
Other countries are also taking part in the drills, dubbed "Security Bond-2023," according to China’s defence ministry.
"This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies… and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability," the ministry said in a statement.
China’s guided-missile destroyer Nanning will be taking part, the ministry added.
The three countries previously conducted manoeuvres in December 2019 dubbed the "Marine Security Belt" which lasted for four days in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
The drills come at a time of heightened tensions with the West, and particularly the United States, over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Iran’s stalled nuclear deal and growing political and economic competition with China.
Last week, long-time foes Saudi Arabia and Iran announced that they had reached a Chinese-brokered agreement to restore formal diplomatic ties following talks in Beijing.
Analysts say this is further evidence of China’s growing influence in the Middle East where the US has long held sway