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Iran, Russia and China to hold joint drills in Gulf in late 2021, early 2022

Russian envoy to Tehran says the third CHIRU naval exercise will focus on shipping security and combating piracy
Iran Russia China naval exercise 2019 AFP
Iranian seamen salute the Russian Navy Neustrashimy-class frigate Yaroslav Mudry on 27 December 2019 during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills (Iranian Army office/AFP)

Iran, Russia and China will hold joint maritime exercises in the Gulf around late 2021 or early 2022, Levan Jagaryan, Russia's ambassador to Tehran, said on Monday.

The RIA news agency reported on Monday that the Marine Security Belt drills - also known as CHIRU - are intended to be an annual event. The drills were first held in 2019 and again in February 2021.

The drills, involving naval vessels from Iran, Russia, China and other nations, will be focused on shipping security and combating piracy, Jagaryan said.

“Along with Russia and India, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela will take part in the drills. There are plans to hold a contest between the dive teams of these countries’ armed forces. Representatives of the Russian Navy command will arrive at the opening and closing ceremonies of this contest," he told another Russian state-owned news agency, Sputnik.

In his interview with RIA, the Russian envoy also spoke about Iran’s "warming relationship” with its Arab neighbours, as well as Tehran’s desire to become a regional production and export hub for Covid-19 vaccines including Russia’s Sputnik V.