Two Russian warships have docked in northern Iran for a series of naval training exercises with the Islamic Republic, according to Persian-language reports translated by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
The two Russian ships docked in Iran’s Anzali port on Sunday and will hold “joint naval exercises during the three-day stay of the warships in Iran,” according to a Persian-language report in Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.
“The [Russian] warships, Volgodonsk and Makhachkala docked in Anzali Port [near the Caspian Sea], in the fourth naval zone, on the afternoon of 9 August,” the report says.
The war exercises come just weeks after Iran and global powers inked a nuclear accord that will provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for slight restrictions on the country’s nuclear program.
Russian and Iran have grown close in recent years, with delegations from each country regularly visiting one another to ink arms deals and other agreements aimed at strengthening Iran’s nuclear program.
Russia and Iran agreed earlier this year to begin construction on several new nuclear power plants. Russia has also agreed to sell Iran a controversial advanced missile defense system that can prevent attacks by Western powers.
The Russian fleet docked in Iran’s port “carrying a message of ‘peace and friendship,’” according to Iranian officials quoted by Fars. The fleet was “welcomed by Iranian naval commanders and staff.”
The Russian commander of the fleet is scheduled to hold meetings with “local political and military officials” in Iran’s northern provinces, according to Fars.
Levan Jagarian, Russia’s ambassador to Tehran, reportedly attended the docking ceremony and called for “for boosting mutual ties between the two countries in various fields,” according to the report.
The two nations went on to say that “expanding bilateral economic, political, and military cooperation is among the priorities of the visit.”
A Russian fleet also docked in northern Iran in October.
Last week, a senior Iranian naval commander warned the United States against ever taking military action on Iranian interests, claiming that the response would be “unpredictably strong.”
Source: Free Beacon | Adam Kredo