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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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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.