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Iran, Russia, China conduct new military drills, defying Western pressure

The exercise brought together the three countries' lead warships for the stated purpose of bolstering maritime security, while Tehran-backed Yemeni rebels continued to target international navigation in the wake of the Gaza war.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard boats attack a naval vessel during a three-day military drill in the Gulf on April 22, 2010.

Iran, Russia and China kicked off joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean on Tuesday, marking the fifth such exercise since 2019. 

The Iranian side is represented by naval units from its regular army (Artesh) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency. 

Dubbed "Maritime Security Belt 2024," the exercise will run through Friday, as Iran's state TV aired footage showing Russian and Chinese warships entering Iranian territorial waters. 

The stated goals of the drills, according to Iranian commanders, are bolstering regional security, deepening cooperation among the participants, demonstrating goodwill for protecting global peace and establishing a maritime alliance for a shared future. They have also highlighted such other objectives as combating piracy and terrorism, improving humanitarian responses and intelligence sharing for the purpose of maritime rescue operations. 

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