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US reaction to joint naval exercise between Iran, China and Russia

The US State Department responding to Iran’s joint naval exercises with China and Russia announced that Tehran should “think twice” because these joint naval exercises “are concerning for every country with an interest in safeguarding freedom of navigation in the region’’.

Russia, China and Iran on Friday began their first joint naval exercises in the waters of the Gulf of Oman and the north Indian Ocean, which will last for four days.

A spokesperson for the Iranian Armed Forces announced that the aim of these exercises is “to exchange military experience, as well as to counter terrorism and piracy.”

Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director, Strategic Research Partnerships, and International Director, at the Royal United Services Institute in a UK interview with the Financial Times said "this is a carefully planned exercise in which each of the three participating countries are winners: Iran can claim that they are a regional power, Russia is showcasing its own role as a key player in the Middle East, and China can flaunt its global naval power.”

Last month the US took part in shared naval exercises in the Persian Gulf with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in order to protect the export of oil in the region.

Maria Zakharova of the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said: “This cooperation and interaction is built on both a bilateral and multilateral basis but exclusively on a legal basis.”

For their part the Chinese defence ministry described the exercises as “normal military to military cooperation.”

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