, and have launched a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, with the aim of boosting marine security, state media reported.
Iran’s state TV said 11 of its vessels were joined by three Russian ships including a destroyer, and two Chinese vessels.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will also participate with smaller ships and helicopters.
The military exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow’s build-up of some 100,000 troops on their border with .
Russia is also being joined by China and Iran – two nations which are at loggerheads with the West, with Beijing recently accused of sending a spy to the heart of the UK Parliament.
Iran, China and Russia have launched a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, with the aim of boosting marine security
An Iranian army member fires a weapon during a joint naval drill of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean on Friday
The joint naval exercise will cover some 6,560 square miles (17,000 square kilometres), in the Indian Ocean’s north, and include night fighting, rescue operations and firefighting drills.
‘The purpose of this drill is to strengthen security and its foundations in the region, and to expand multilateral cooperation between the three countries to jointly support world peace, maritime security and create a maritime community with a common future,’ Iran’s Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajoldini, spokesman for the drills, told state TV.
This is the third joint naval drill between the countries since 2019.It coincided with a recent visit by Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi to Russia.
‘Improving bilateral relations between Tehran and Moscow will enhance security for the region and the international arena,’ Mr Raisi said upon returning from Russia on Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Warships and a helicopter attend a joint naval drill of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean
Since coming to office last June, Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has pursued a ‘look east’ policy to deepen ties with China and Russia.
Tehran has sought to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid regional tensions with the United States.Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also increased in recent years.
Tehran also joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in September, a central Asian security body led by Beijing and Moscow.
Iran has been holding regular military drills in recent months, as attempts to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers founder.
Russian, Chinese and Iranian warships attend a joint naval drill of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean on Friday
Meanwhile, tensions have deepened between China and the West, with Britain accusing Beijing of sending alleged spy Christine Lee into the heart of the UK parliament.
The Chinese lawyer consorted in plain sight with Prime Ministers, peers and senior MPs, pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds into both Labour and coffers as, according to MI5, she sought to extend ‘s influence.
China dismissed the warning from MI5 to MPs that Lee had been trying to ‘covertly interfere in British politics for years, accusing Britain of being ‘too obsessed with James Bond movies’.
Tensions between China and the West have worsened over their human rights record and their claim to owning Taiwan.
The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the United States, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing.
A satellite image shows equipment deployed at Klimovo Railyard in Klimovo, Russia, on Wednesday
Moscow has for weeks been massing tens of thousands of troops, tanks and artillery pieces along its eastern flank, sparking fears of an invasion, though the Kremlin has insisted it is merely a defence force (pictured, Russian forces currently massed in border regions)
Russia is also at loggerheads with the US and the West over its neighbour Ukraine, where it has sent some 100,000 troops that Washington, Kyiv and their allies fear will be used to invade the country.
The United States and its allies today warned Moscow of grave consequences if ‘any’ of the tens of thousands of troops massed on the border were to enter Ukraine.
Following talks in with , and Britain, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that ‘cannot match’ Western powers’ resoluteness.
If Russia invades Ukraine it would ‘drag us Watch All Channels Abroad back to a much more dangerous and unstable time, when this continent, and this city, were divided in two…with the threat of all-out war hanging over everyone’s heads,’ he said.
In a show of unity that has been lacking in recent days, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock added that the West would not shy away from taking action even if that included measures that ‘could have economic consequences for ourselves’.
Having drummed up support among his allies, Blinken will today travel from Berlin to Geneva where he will hold talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Russia of ‘grave consequences’ if any troops cross into Ukraine, after meeting NATO allies in Berlin (pictured)
Blinken then flew to Geneva (pictured) where he is due to meet Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today in an attempt to deescalate the tensions with Ukraine