Iran, Russia Prepare to Hold Naval War Games in Caspian Sea

Tactical, rescue and anti-piracy war games between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future

FILE PHOTO: Iranian navy conducts the "Velayat-90" naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on January 1, 2012
AFP

Iran and Russia are preparing to hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea, including rescue and anti-piracy drills, the commander of the Iranian navy was quoted on Sunday as saying. 

"Tactical, rescue and anti-piracy war games between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future," the semi-official news agency Mehr quoted Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi as saying. 

Iran and Russia have held several naval drills in the Caspian Sea, including in 2015 and 2017. 

Iran and Russia have close ties, including in Syria where they both back President Bashar Assad in the country's civil war

Khanzadi reiterated Iran's opposition to the military presence of any country from outside the region in the Caspian Sea, saying: "All countries around the Caspian have the same approach," Mehr reported. 

Russia said last year it was firmly committed to deepening ties with Iran despite a U.S. decision to quit an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. 

Last week it was announced the Iranian navy will send warships to deploy in the Atlantic, starting from March. 

Iran sees the presence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf as a security concern and its navy has sought to counter that by showing the flag near American waters.

A flotilla will leave for the Atlantic early in the Iranian new year, starting from March, Iran’s naval deputy commander said.

“The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

He said Sahand, a newly-built destroyer, would be one of the warships. Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters and Iran says it is equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and has electronic warfare capabilities.