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Iran, Russia Plan Naval Drills in Caspian Sea

Iran, Russia Plan Naval Drills in Caspian Sea

Sunday, 6 January, 2019 - 13:45
This picture taken on Dec. 8, 2018 shows a view of a ship moored by the shore of Iran's salt lake of Urmia in the country's northwest, which had been shrinking in one of the worst ecological disasters of the past 25 years. / AFP / ATTA KENARE
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran and Russia are preparing to hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea, including rescue and anti-piracy drills, the commander of the Iranian navy Hossein Khanzadi said Sunday.

"Tactical, rescue and anti-piracy war games between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future," the semi-official news agency Mehr quoted Khanzadi as saying, Reuters reported.

Khanzadi reiterated Iran's opposition to the military presence of any country from outside the region in the Caspian Sea, saying: "All countries around the Caspian have the same approach," Mehr reported.

According to Reuters, Iran and Russia have held several naval drills in the Caspian Sea, including in 2015 and 2017.

Iran and Russia have close ties, including in Syria where they both back Head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad in the country's war.

Russia said last year it was firmly committed to deepening ties with Iran despite a US decision to quit an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

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