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Iran plans joint naval exercise with Russia, China as Red Sea tensions soar

The trilateral drills will be the first this year that Iran is holding with the two powers, as it remains under Western pressure over involvement in attacks on international navigation in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
An Iranian Navy warship takes part in the "National Persian Gulf day" in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, 2019.

Iran's naval forces will hold joint exercises with their Russian and Chinese counterparts by the end of March 20, at a time of heightened regional tensions following the Israel-Hamas war. 

"The drills are meant for regional security and common interests," said Iran's naval commander, Rear Adm. Shahram Irani, at a naval academy in the northern city of Manjil on Monday, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

The Iranian commander did not specify the exact location and scope of the drills but noted that invites had been sent out to other countries to join. 

Iran, Russia and China held similar war games in the Gulf of Oman last March. The four-day exercises involved Iran's leading destroyer, Jamaran — a Moudge-class frigate — China's South Sea Fleet warship, the Nanning, and Russia's Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate.

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