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Iran, Russia Plan Joint Military Drills In Strait Of Hormuz

Iran and Russia are planning a joint military drill in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, the Commander of the Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, told state news agency IRNA.

According to Khanzadi, the Iranian armed forces had signed a contract for the drills with the Russian Ministry of Defense, but did not say when the drills will be carried out.

In any case, the news clearly points towards a continued warming of bilateral relations amid increasing U.S. pressure on both countries, particularly Iran.

"A joint Russian-Iranian exercise is expected to be held shortly in the Indian Ocean. The exercise may also be held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, including in the Strait of Hormuz," Khanzadi said as quoted by Russia’s TASS agency, adding that the drills were a turning point in Iranian-Russian military cooperation.

Meanwhile, The Express reports Britain’s new PM Boris Johnson was being pressured to invite Russia and China to join the European fleet that he is seeking to form to protect vessels in the Persian Gulf. If done, this would be a controversial move in the UK, whose own relations with Russia are the opposite of friendly and those with China are not exactly what one would call warm.

Yesterday, Reuters reported Iran had warned against European countries—France, Italy, and Denmark quick to join the UK initiative—sending warships to the Persian Gulf.

"They (UK and US) want to bring the European war fleet in the Persian Gulf, we think that such actions are provocative in the current situation," a government spokesman told media. "It has a hostile message. It will stir up tensions."

The fact that the news about the joint Iranian-Russian drills in the Gulf came on the heels of that statement speaks for itself: if Europe plans to present a united front against Iran, Iran has help in facing it.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Kevin Hughes on August 01 2019 said:
    All is for Israel, Greater Israel.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 30 2019 said:
    With the US Navy deploying to the Gulf in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz and some US allies like South Korea sending navy units to protect shipping in the Strait, the planned joint Russian-Iranian military drill in the Gulf signals to the world that Iran isn’t without powerful allies.

    Britain which was humbled when Iran kept its word to seize a British tanker in retaliation for the seizing of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, is reported to be organizing a European fleet to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. We know who instigated this move: President Trump.

    Such a European Navy would be reminiscent of the coalition of the willing during the first Gulf war. If so, it will be an escalation of tension in an already tense region.

    Instead, Britain’s interests and shipping in the Gulf would be better protected if it could reach an agreement with Iran for the mutual release of the seized tankers rather than doing US bidding.

    As for the European Union (EU), it should show some grit towards the United States having declared that it is against US sanctions on Iran and that it is going to continue trading with Iran rather than behaving like a paper tiger. With France, Italy and Denmark joining the European fleet, the EU is not only escalating tension in the Gulf region but is sending the wrong signal to Tehran. Iran's answer would be less adherence to the clauses of the nuclear deal.

    Iran made it clear that there will be no risk to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz unless it is attacked or its crude oil exports were prevented from passing through the Strait. In such an eventuality, it will block or mine the Strait of Hormuz so as to disrupt other Gulf countries’ oil exports. Still a war could happen by accident rather than by design.

    It seems the world has not fully grasped the lessons of the war on Iraq in 2003. That war triggered a huge refugee crisis, destabilized the entire Middle East and cost the global economy an estimated $12.584 trillion. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 5,000 Americans lost their lives in Iraq with hundreds of thousands more Americans injured and receiving lifetime disability compensation.

    A war in the Gulf could cost the global economy far more than the invasion of Iraq. My estimates are that such a war could cost the global economy $13.137 trillion and decimate the economies of the Gulf countries.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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