China, Russia, and Iran are set to hold four-day long joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman starting December 27 as tensions soar between Tehran and Washington around 2015 nuclear pact. The Chinese defence ministry reportedly said that the exercise is aimed to deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries.
Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian announced that their navy would deploy Xining guided-missile destroyer in the drills. But he didn’t divulge any details regarding the number of personnel and ships involved in the trilateral exercise. Meanwhile, a senior armed forces spokesperson for Iran the drills are aimed at bringing international commerce security in the region and fighting terrorism and piracy.
The joint military exercise can be seen from the prism of relations of the United States with all the three countries. While the US Senate approved a defence bill to impose sanctions on companies working on Russia’s ambitious Nord Stream 2 pipeline project under the Baltic Sea, the recent trade war with China made the two countries align against Washington. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had also recently inaugurated a 3000-kilometre gas pipeline from Siberia to China, called the ‘Power of Siberia’.
Iran, on the other hand, is facing crippling sanctions from the US after the latter withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, citing flagrant violation of the deal. After Iran announced the resumption of enrichment activities in an underground lab in Fordow, the United States declared that it will lift sanction waivers for the nuclear plant at the site. Later, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country was ready to hold nuclear talks with Washington if they lift the “unlawful” sanctions.
"I hereby announce that whenever the United States is ready to lift all illegal and unjust sanctions, Iran and P5+1 leaders will meet right away, and we have no problem in this regard," said Rouhani.