Iran, Russia Plan Joint Naval Drills in Caspian Sea

Fars News Agency – June 30, 2013

Iran and Russia plan to conduct joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea before the end of 2013, a senior Russian Navy commander announced on Saturday.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla Nikolai Yakubovsky made the announcement after meeting with the Commander of the Iranian navy flotilla that has been dispatched to the Russian port city of Astrakhan on Wednesday.

The two countries conducted their first joint naval maneuvers in the Caspian Sea in 2009. A total of 30 Iranian and Russian warships participated in the joint exercises.

Iran and Russia have recently expanded their military cooperation and interactions. The Iranian Navy sent a flotilla of warships to Astrakhan on Wednesday.

“Two missile-launching warships which have been manufactured by the young Iranian experts and joined the Navy’s fleet in 2003 and 2006 were for the first time dispatched to the Russian port of Astrakhan in the form of a flotilla,” Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy Admiral Siyavash Jarreh announced on Wednesday.

He further mentioned “consolidation of the friendly relations between Iran and Russia” as the goal of the Iranian flotilla’s mission, adding that the Navy also aims to display the might and increased knowledge and experience of its young personnel.

According to the Admiral, the Iranian naval forces are due to visit the port and military centers of Astrakhan, and also take part in meetings with senior military officials and commanders in Russia.

A detachment of the Russian Pacific Fleet warships docked in Iran’s Southern port city of Bandar Abbas in mid April. On April 21, a group of Russian Navy warships docked at Bandar Abbas after a long journey from the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian fleet, comprised of Admiral Panteleyev anti-submarine destroyer and two logistic warships of Peresvet and Admiral Novelskoy with a total number of 712 crews, entered the Army’s first naval zone in Bandar Abbas on April 21.

The fleet, which comprised Admiral Panteleyev anti-submarine destroyer and the logistic battleships Peresvet and Admiral Nevelskoi vessel with a crew of 712, entered the Iranian naval zone in a bid to further strengthen relations between Tehran and Moscow and promote bilateral naval cooperation to maintain maritime security.

In recent years, Iran’s Navy has been increasing its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly asserted that its overseas naval presence is meant to convey a message of peace and friendship to other countries.

Iranian officials and commanders have repeatedly underlined that all military exercises and trainings of the Iranian Armed Forces are merely meant to serve deterrent purposes.

“When the enemy observes that our Armed Forces are constantly in wargame zones and their fingers are kept on the trigger, it will not dare to invade the Islamic Iran’s borders,” Pourdastan said in January, underlining the significance of military trainings for boosting the country’s deterrent power.

As regards the Iranian Armed Forces’ military exercises, Pourdastan described wargames as “very important” to the Iranian military, and said drills have provided the Iranian military forces, including the Army Ground Force, with an opportunity to test its achievements and remove deficiencies for future missions.

Late in December 2011, the Iranian Army’s Navy staged 10-day wargames, dubbed as Velayat 90, to test its latest achievements in the fields of missile technology and sub-surface vessels.

The wargames were conducted in an area stretching from the East of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden.

Navy conducted test-firing long-range missiles from coasts and navy vessels.

Different types of short and long-range coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, surface-to-air missiles were tested by Iranian vessels. Iranian submarines also launched smart torpedoes.

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