The Iranian and Russian armed forces have begun joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean with the aim of improving maritime trade security in the region, Iranian state television reported on Tuesday.
Units of the Iranian Navy and the Revolutionary Guard Navy are participating in the exercises called “Iranian-Russian Maritime Safety Belt 2021” over an area of 17,000 km in the northern Indian Ocean.
A spokesman for the operation, Admiral Ghulam Reza Tahani, said a Russian destroyer, a logistical ship and a helicopter were taking part in the exercise. This is the second exercise of its kind since 2019, when the two countries and China held a four-day exercise.
Tehran is trying to increase military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid regional tensions with the United States. Visits of representatives of the Russian and Chinese navies to Iran have increased in recent years.
Iran is trying to pressure US President Joe Biden to make his country join the nuclear deal with the Western powers.
Last Thursday, the Revolutionary Guards conducted ground exercises near the border with Iraq, with the participation of drones, helicopters and tanks.
In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal, under which Tehran agreed to limit uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on it.
When the Trump administration imposed sanctions on it, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the agreement’s restrictions on its nuclear development.