Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi has been quoted by semi-official news agency Mehr as saying the two countries are planning “war games” that will be implemented in the “near future”. Iran and Russia have held several naval drills in the Caspian Sea, including in 2015 and 2017, with the Iranian commander saying cooperation between both navies had “strengthened in recent years”. He also praised wider Caspian Sea cooperation as a “model for guaranteeing peace, stability and friendship”.
Mehr reported on Sunday the naval commander said: “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 two countries have close ties, including in Syria where they both back President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.
Mr Khanzadi 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 US decision to quit an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Enclosed by land and borderes by Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea is the world’s biggest enclosed body of water.
The sea is rich in offshore oil and gas deposits worth trillions of dollars.
In August Iran and Russia agreed with the three other ex-soviet nations how to divide up the oil and gas resources of the sea, leading the way for more energy exploration.
The deal followed a vow made by US president Donald Trump to implement sanctions against Iran’s energy industry in an attempt to restrict its trade of oil.
Yesterday Iran sent a menacing warning to the US, threatening to deploy warships in the Atlantic Ocean in response to repeated US deployments in the Persian Gulf.
The news came as tensions between Washington and Tehran continued to deteriorate over the former’s decision to scrap a landmark nuclear deal and reimpose strict sanctions in response to Iran’s alleged ties to revolutionary Shiite Muslim movements across the Middle East and its ballistic missile development.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or so-called Iran nuclear deal, was agreed by China, France, Germany, the European Union, Iran, Russia, United Kingdom, United States (who later withdrew under Donald Trump).
It was intended to curb Iran’s nuclear energy programme, which the West maintained it was using as a cover up to develop a nuclear bomb.
The agreement was struck in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
But Trump withdrew from the deal last year, branding it “decaying and rotten”.