In a bid to boost military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow, Iran’s armed forces will hold a joint, four-day naval exercise with Russia and China in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The drill, which is to start on Saturday, 1 will be the first such trilateral exercise. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also stepped up in recent years.
Iranian military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint maneuvers, which are aimed at promoting regional security, will extend as far as the Sea of Oman.
This comes amid Iran’s tensions with the US. Iran’s economy has primarily been battered since the country has been locked in a standoff with the United States and its Gulf Arab allies after US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal that gave it relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees includes President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defence ministry.
Earlier this week, Rouhani slammed the “irrational” withdrawal of the United States from the multinational nuclear deal. This came after Rouhani met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. "I strongly condemn the US for unilaterally and irrationally withdrawing" from the deal, said Rouhani, who became the first Iranian head of state to visit Japan for two decades.
"I hope Japan and other countries will make efforts to maintain this deal," Rouhani said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed events in Iran with US President Donald Trump in a phone call. The phone conversation, which Abe told reporters took place at Trump’s request, came on the same day that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrapped up his two-day visit to Japan. Japan is a key US ally that also maintains close diplomatic and economic ties with Iran, and Abe has tried to build bridges between the two rivals.
The Abe-Trump phone call lasted about 75 minutes.