EghtesadOnline: Iranian parliamentarians hailed the ongoing maritime maneuvers launched by Iran, China and Russia in the northern areas of Indian Ocean, describing the move as “a clear message” to the US coalition against Iran.
Several lawmakers talked to ICANA to discuss their take on the high-profile trilateral wargame—the first of its kind in the history of Iran.
"The joint naval drill among Iran, China and Russia sends a clear message to the US coalition in the Persian Gulf, signaling that the US should know its place in view of China and Russia's support [for Tehran]," Jalal Mirzaei, a member of the reformist parliamentary "Hope" faction, said.
Following several attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, the US blamed Iran for the rising tensions in the strategic waters and launched the International Maritime Security Construct to purportedly protect shipping lines in the region, Financial Tribune reported.
The plan failed to effectively mobilize the world against Iran, with only a few US allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, joining the coalition. Since May, the Pentagon has deployed 14,000 additional troops and an aircraft carrier to the international waters to “contain” Iran.
A member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission also pointed to the far-reaching implications of the naval exercises, given the geopolitical dynamics of the region.
Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said, "The US and its allies are seeking to isolate Iran, but by launching this drill, Tehran showed that its isolation is impossible, and the enemies' scheme has failed spectacularly."
The four-day wargame is dubbed "Marine Security Belt" and consists of various tactical exercises such as target practicing and rescuing ships from assaults and fire incidents.
According to Mirzaei, the decision of China and Russia to hold a joint exercise with Iran under the current circumstances is a “positive sign”.
Hosseini said the maneuvers showcase Iran's naval power in the international waters with the purpose of protecting national interests.
The maneuvers have drawn reactions from the White House.
"We are monitoring it [the drills] and will continue to work with our partners and allies to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waterways," Pentagon Spokesman Sean Robertson said on Thursday, Sputnik reported.
Expressing approval of Iran's measures to boost its navy, the lawmaker said, "Iran was not in control of regional waters just a few decades ago, but with the continuing perseverance of experts, the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, not only do we maintain absolute control in the region, but we also do not allow any violation of national interests even in distant waters."
Stressing that the ongoing maneuvers do not fully demonstrate Iran's naval strength, Naqavi underscored advancements in other areas such as the development of surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and sea-to-sea missiles, as well as the construction of frigates and other water vessels that are not taking part on the joint drill, which is to conclude on Monday.