Allies Iran, Russia to hold naval drills in Caspian Sea
"Tactical, rescue and anti-piracy war games between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future," Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said, according to the semi-official news agency Mehr.
Khanzadi confirmed Iran's opposition to the military presence of any country from outside the region in the Caspian Sea.
Similar naval drills have already been held by the allies, including including in 2015 and 2017.
Iran and Russia have close ties, including in Syria where they both back President Bashar Assad in the country's civil war.
Last year, Russia said it was firmly committed to deepening ties with Iran despite a US decision to withdraw from the historic nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Last month, Moscow announced its plan to host the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey in January to discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The announcement came after the United States declared it was withdrawing troops from the country claiming the Islamic State group had been defeated.
"It's our turn to host the summit... around the first week of the year. This will depend on the schedules of the presidents," Russia's deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov was cited as saying by Interfax news agency.
The meeting will form the latest stage of the Astana peace process - set up in early 2017 in response to failing UN-led peace efforts, by Russia and Iran. The two allies support President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, whereas Turkey backs what is left of the Syrian opposition.
The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the Damascus regime's favour and has since gradually eclipsed the UN-sponsored negotiations framework known as the Geneva process.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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