China, Russia and Iran hold joint naval drills in Gulf of Oman

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China, Iran and Russia are conducting joint naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman this week, according to China’s defence ministry. The exercises, dubbed “Security Bond-2023”, also involve forces from other countries with a coastline bordering the Gulf of Oman, including Oman, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. China has dispatched the guided missile destroyer Nanning to participate in the drills focused on non-combat missions such as search and rescue at sea. The joint exercises come as the US and China find themselves at odds over a range of issues, including Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and continued Chinese support for the Russian economy. The US has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, a move supported by US allies. Tensions have long simmered between Iran and the US, dating back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the seizure of US diplomats. China’s military and political ties with nations ostracised by the US have expanded in recent years; it has hosted talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, resulting in the restoration of full diplomatic ties between them.

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