Iran

Commander: Iran to Stage Massive Naval Drills in Winter

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Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that the Navy plans to hold naval wargames codenamed ‘Velayat 3′ in Iran’s territorial and international waters in winter.
“Velayat 3 drills will be staged in winter and in the 10-degree latitude and we will cooperate with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy in these exercises,” Sayyari said in an interview with the Iranian students news agency on Monday.

He said that the Iranian Navy has also held joint naval drills with different countries, including Oman, Pakistan and China.

Sayyari underscored the Iranian Naval forces’ readiness to confront any threats, and said, “We are so capable of establishing security in the seas.”

“At present, we monitor all vessels in the region and have exact information on their sailing path and know when they enter a port and when they leave it,” he added.

His remarks came after the Chinese forces sailing on the fleet of warships that docked in Iran’s Southern port city of Bandar Abbas last Saturday practiced joint naval exercises with their Iranian counterparts in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday.

During the drills, the two sides practiced exchange of information and intelligence, relief and rescue operations and operational capabilities and power.

Rear Admial Hossein Azad, a top-ranking Iranian Navy commander, said boosting technical capabilities, expansion of naval interaction between the two countries, exercising maritime relief operation as well as getting prepared to deal with maritime disasters were among the major goals of the maneuvers.

The message of the joint drills was peace and security in the light of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the commander said.

He said that the drills were organized by Iranian ambassador in Beijing and Iran’s military attaché to the country.

A detachment of China’s fleet of warships docked in Iran’s territorial waters in Bandar Abbas last Saturday.

It was the first time that a Chinese flotilla had sailed and berthed in Iran’s territorial waters.

An Iranian flotilla was in the Sea of China last year to deliver Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the Chinese.

In May, 2013, the Iranian warships docked in Zhangjiagang after a 13,000-kilometer voyage in 40 days as part of their mission to convey Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the East Asian states.

Sayyari said then that presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans and the China Sea, patrolling Southeast Asia’s strategic Strait of Malacca, crossing the Equator, docking at China’s port city of Zhangjiagang port and identifying 370 surface and subsurface vessel units were among the important tasks carried out by the fleet.

The visit by the Chinese Navy ships also came a few days after the timely presence and action of the Iranian Navy’s 31st Flotilla thwarted an attack by eight pirate speed boats, equipped with various light and semi-heavy weapons, on a Chinese container-carrier ship in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, and forced the pirates to flee the scene.

The Chinese ship was traveling en route from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before it came under pirates’ attack.

The Chinese ship continued its voyage after it was rescued by the Iranian Navy.

The 31st Fleet of the Iranian Navy, comprised of Bayandor destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship, was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden and the high seas late July to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.

The fleet of warships has escorted 670 military and cargo ships by now and has identified and traced trans-regional vessels and aircraft.

Iran’s 30th flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and returned home in July.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

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