Russia, China and Iran join forces for naval exercises threatening the West | World | News
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The “2022 Marine Security Belt” exercise will take place in the northern Indian Ocean and is the third joint naval exercise between the three countries since 2019, according to Mostafa Tajoldin speaking to Reuters. The naval forces of the three powers are to take part in a series of exercises, which would involve tactical exercises such as rescuing a burning ship, freeing a hijacked ship and night firing at air targets.
“The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen security and its foundations in the region, and expand multilateral cooperation between the three countries to jointly support global peace, maritime security and build a maritime community with a common future,” the Iranian official told ISNA. .
The three countries have been growing closer since Iran’s radical new President Ebrahim Raisi took office last August. President Raisi has pursued a policy of “looking east” to strengthen ties with China and Russia in the face of growing political and economic pressure from the United States and other Western countries.
The Iranian leader met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday in a bid to forge “lasting and comprehensive relations”, according to Iranian state media.
President Raisi earlier described the trip as a potential “turning point” in relations with “our friend” Russia. “We have common interests that can help strengthen security in the region and prevent unilateralism [by the US],” he said.
President Putin has previously boasted of a possible military alliance between Moscow, Beijing and Tehran, raising concerns in Western countries about a potentially dangerous power alliance.
Speaking to Express.co.uk last year, Defense Select Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said the strengthening of relations between Beijing and Moscow should come as no surprise, and Tehran’s entry into the group could form a “devastating trio”.
Iran has strengthened its military and trade ties with China and Russia in recent years.
Chinese and Russian naval vessels participated in a joint naval exercise last October.
Mr Ellwood said: “Russia and China are not natural allies, but that is because they now have a common enemy. Their troops now train together so they learn each other’s protocols and communicate with each other.
“I think what’s going to happen is that Russia will want to stay valued – its economy is the size of Italy and it’s suffering because of its military budget. The only way it can maintain that is to one way or another, over the next few decades, slipping behind China.
In another show of strengthening ties between the three countries, Iran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September, a Central Asian security body led by China and Russia. Tehran took advantage of its entry into the group to appeal to its colleagues, which include nine countries such as India and Pakistan, to help it avoid Western sanctions.
Russia and China are parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers, including the UK and the US, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return the lifting of sanctions.
The United States abandoned the deal under former President Donald Trump, who stepped down in 2018 and imposed unilateral financial sanctions on the country that crippled its economy.
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Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met via video link in December 2021.
Iran has carried out a number of military launches during military exercises in recent months.
Negotiations to revive the deal resumed last year after President Joe Biden took office in January and brought US negotiators back to the table. However, as six months of talks in Vienna prepare to end in less than two weeks, no agreement has been reached on how to verify Iran’s nuclear program, which has grown rapidly since Mr Trump announced tore up the deal.
Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program is monitored by a group of world powers known as the P5+1, which includes the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany and the states -United. Iran has enriched uranium which can be used for nuclear weapons, which is a major concern within the international community.
The UK met Iranian officials at talks in Vienna in December to try to resuscitate the deal that would force Iran to stop enriching uranium and allow international inspectors on the ground to assess progress of its nuclear program.
President Raisi vehemently opposes Western sanctions, which he has likened to terrorism. In a speech to SCO members, he said, “Nothing can stop Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities which are within the framework of international regulations. Diplomacy is only effective when all parties buy into it. Threats and pressure tie the hands of diplomacy and make it ineffective.
Iran, Russia and China signed a nuclear ‘consensus’ in November last year, while talks between Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 deal broke down, in a show of unity against the Western powers.
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The rapid expansion of Iran’s nuclear program has raised international concern.
Russia has said it supports Tehran’s call for the removal of all sanctions that violate the 2015 agreement and a guarantee against a future US withdrawal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also visited Beijing last week for the first time since President Raisi took office.
China has been Iran’s biggest trading partner since 2014 and the biggest buyer of Tehran’s crude oil exports, providing a vital lifeline for the country’s economic growth and survival in recent years.
Mr Amirabdollahian and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met to kick off a $400 billion deal between the two countries in 2020. The 25-year security and economic cooperation agreement will see China invest in sectors of the Iranian economy, ranging from finance to infrastructure, and closer military ties between the two powers.
China has always opposed US sanctions against Beijing. Speaking after the visit, Wang said, “China firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran, political manipulation of human rights and other issues, and blatant interference in the internal affairs of Iran and other countries in the region”.
Trade between Iran and Russia has also increased in recent months, with some Iranian politicians suggesting that a long-term deal could be reached between the two countries, similar to the recently brokered deal with China.