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Russia, Iran, China to hold joint naval drills

Xining (DDG-117), People's Liberation Army Navy ship. (Japan Ministry of Defense/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

China, Iran, and Russia will hold joint naval drills, amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The military exercises will take place in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman from December 27 to 30, officials in Beijing and Tehran announced.

China will send the Xining, a guided-missile destroyer, to the drills, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters on December 26. He did not give details on how many personnel or ships would take part overall.

In Tehran, senior armed-forces spokesman Aboldazl Shekarchi said the drills would “stabilize security” in the region. He said the drill’s purpose was to bolster “international commerce security in the region” and “fighting terrorism and piracy.”

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The drills are coming at a time of tensions between the United States and Iran.

Washington has proposed a U.S.-led naval mission in the Persian Gulf, following a string of attacks in gulf waters that the United States and its allies blamed on Iran. Tehran denies the accusations.

Friction has increased since President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in May 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic republic.