Russia, China and Iran Start Naval Drills off the Strait of Hormuz

In the Gulf of Oman where a pair of tankers was hit in June

Editor’s note: When the intention to hold joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian naval drills was announced a few months ago it was said they would be held away from Hormuz, in the Indian Ocean. Now however they have been moved to the Gulf of Oman which is precisely where those tankers were hit, and which lays just off the Iranian shore. If joint drills in the Indian Ocean were a show of Sino-Russian support then drills in the Gulf of Oman are even more so.

China, Iran and Russia will hold joint naval drills starting on Friday in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, China’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday, amid heightened tensions in the region between Tehran and Washington.

China will send the Xining, a guided missile destroyer, to the drills, which will last from Dec. 27 to 30, and is meant to deepen cooperation between the three countries’ navies, ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a monthly news briefing.

The Gulf of Oman is a particularly sensitive waterway as it connects to the Strait of Hormuz — through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes — which in turn connects to the Persian Gulf.

The drills are also coming at a time of fraught tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Friction has increased since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six nations and re-imposed sanctions on the country, crippling its economy.

Washington has proposed a U.S.-led naval mission after several attacks in May and June on international merchant vessels, including Saudi tankers, in Gulf waters which the United States blamed on Iran. Tehran denies the accusations.

Tensions have risen in the region not only over Iran’s disputed nuclear program but also over a September attack on Saudi oil facilities blamed on Iran by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Iran also denies involvement.

China has close diplomatic, trade and energy ties with Iran.

But Beijing also has good relations with Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, meaning it has long had to tread a fine line in a part of the world where Beijing has traditionally exerted far less sway than the United States, Russia, France or Britain.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to visit Saudi Arabia next year as it is the host of the 2020 G20 summit.

Source: The Moscow Times

  1. James Willy says

    Great to see the 3 of them together. It just sux that they still do not form a nato type alliance. Then they could team up and wipe out yankys. Or at least cost yankys very much. When will they finally stand their ground?

  2. Séamus Ó Néill says

    The American and Israeli bullying policy is certainly paying dividends, but I’m not sure these two psychopaths will welcome the way it’s playing out. America has bankrupted herself by being Israel’s toady and Israel has incurred the wrath and hatred of not only the ME but the planet as a whole ! It looks as if Henry Kissinger’s ( himself a Jew ) prediction, made in 2012, that Israel would not survive beyond 2022 may come to fruition.

    1. Canosin says

      if the jooish war criminal Kissinger is right….. well … I guess …
      the whole world would rejoice …. and celebrate for many months

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