China, Iran, and Russia have just started to hold joint naval drills according to a report.
Iran has kicked off the first joint naval drill with Russia and China in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, Iranian state TV has reported.
The four-day exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions since the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May last year.
“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity … and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.
Tahani added that the drills included rescuing ships on fire or vessels under attack by pirates and shooting exercises, with both Iran’s navy and its Revolutionary Guards participating.
State television showed what it said was a Russian warship arriving at Chabahar port in southern Iran and said the Chinese will join shortly, calling the three countries “the new triangle of power in the sea”.
“The aim of this drill is to bolster security of international maritime commerce, combatting piracy and terrorism and sharing information … and experience,” the flotilla commander said.
“Us hosting these powers shows that our relations have reached a meaningful point and may have an international impact,” he added.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday the drill would “deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries.” He said the Chinese navy’s guided-missile destroyer “Xining” was taking part in the exercise.
The US reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran after quitting the nuclear deal last year, prompting Tehran to hit back with countermeasures by dropping nuclear commitments.
Remaining parties to the badly weakened agreement include the UK, France and Germany, as well as China and Russia.
In June, US President Donald Trump authorised an attack after Iran shot down a US drone, only to call off the retaliation at the last moment.
The crisis deepened with the September 14 attacks on Saudi energy giant Aramco’s vital Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield, which temporarily halved the kingdom’s crude output.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack but Washington accused Tehran, a charge it has strongly denied.
It has also denied accusations from Washington and other Western capitals that it was behind a string of mysterious attacks on oil tankers in Gulf waters.
Washington has responded with a military build-up in the Gulf and launched an operation with its allies to protect navigation in Gulf waters.
Japan said on Friday it would also send a military vessel and two patrol planes to help protect waterways in the region, but will not join the US-led coalition.
Tokyo will send a destroyer for intelligence activities along with two patrol aircraft, chief cabinet secretary and government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
The move is “Japan’s own measure aimed at peace and stability in the Middle East as well as ensuring safety of Japan-related vessels,” he said, noting that 90 percent of the crude oil Tokyo imports came from the region. (source)
Right now there are growing tensions with China, Iran, and Russia vis-a-vis the US and Japan. As we have noted this is going to continue for some time in the build up to another world war, but not immedaitely
Iran clearly invited Russia and China for the drill because she knows that she is a major target and has been for the US for some time, and that the Russian and Chinese presence at he new port would help to “send a message” in order to assert her presence in the area. However, this does not change the possibility that another “incident” could happen that could be used to blame Iran for an excuse to start a war, and neither does it change any fundamentals with Russia and China.
What one may be seeing here is an application of the Communist “maximum-minimum” strategy developed by the Soviets, where they sought to use foreign intervention that, while knowing they could likely not do much to stop US or Western European influence, that they could jam or divert efforts as much as possible with minimal investments. This was done by the USSR in Mozambique, Nigeria with the Biafra wars, and even the Vietnam war with the arming of the Viet Cong. By contrast, the US executed arguably the most successful but also expensive of these programs with Operation Cyclone, which drew the USSR into a “Vietnam-style conflict” as per the direction of CIA officer Michael Vickers, and resulted in a catastrophic Soviet loss as well as economic destabilization that ultimately advanced the collapse of the USSR.
While there is no fighting in Iran yet, the presence of both nations is likely an attempt at doing the same thing, providing the appearance of power before the world in the same way that the US and France recently sailed naval vessels through the Strait of Taiwan.
If a war were to happen, the Russians and Chinese would likely send arms, but it is unlikely they would intervene, especially the Chinese, since they are concerned with the stability of their own nation, and it also could jeopardize their alliance with Pakistan, which while they will likely not give a lot of support to her, exists for the sake of keeping her larger and more serious enemy of India in check, since in a major global conflict, there is a strong chance that China will also have to face off against India, especially in the regions of northeastern India on the border of Myanmar heading into Southeast Asia and even the “Golden Triangle” region of Sichuan Province. Russia would likely attempt to open relations with Turkmenistan to put troops on the the Iran-Turkmenistan border, but one cannot be sure this would be permitted, as Turkmenistan has an official policy of neutrality and she has extensive ties with Israel and the US.
The issue here is less about if the particular events could lead to a war, but they are just one more series of things taking place that, when historians look back, will go down as steps that were part of forming the next great global conflict, and it will be interesting in the current time to see how the West responds. The Turkish response will also be very interesting to watch, because like Germany, she is seeking to revive her own empire in the Middle East, is a contemporary ally of Iran, has a long shared history with Iran, and while being built up by the US could draw on support from either the US or Russia and will likely do whatever most fits her interests of regaining her “Ottoman dream” by 2023.