Report: Iran and Russia begin joint naval drill

Iran's state TV says the Iranian and Russian militaries have kicked off a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean aimed at boosting security of maritime trade in the region

The TV said units from Iran’s Navy and the powerful Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces will take part in the exercise dubbed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” in the northern part of Indian Ocean, spanning a stretch of about a 17,000 kilometers (10,600 miles).

Tehran has been seeking to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid regional tensions with the United States. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also increased in recent years.

In the last few months, Iran has stepped up military drills as the country tries to pressure President Joe Biden over the nuclear accord, which he has said America could reenter.

Last Thursday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted a ground forces drill near the border with Iraq in which drones, helicopters and military tanks were used.

When the Trump administration subsequently imposed severe sanctions on Tehran, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.

Iran’s navy chief Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said the Indian and Chinese navies will also join the exercise, state-run IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.