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Iran Uses Naval Cooperation to Boost Ties With Russia Amid Sanctions

© AFP 2023 / EBRAHIM NOROOZI / JamejamonlineIranian navy fires a Mehrab missile during the "Velayat-90" naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran (file)
Iranian navy fires a Mehrab missile during the Velayat-90 naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran (file) - Sputnik International
Iran is looking for closer “good and constructive” cooperation with Russia on the high seas, Mohsen Sheidayee, the commander of an Iranian naval flotilla currently on a friendly visit in the Russian Caspian port of Makhachkala, said in an interview with Sputnik.

Iranian Navy boats take part in maneuvers during the Velayat-90 navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran (File) - Sputnik International
Iranian Flotilla Arrives in Russian Southern Port of Makhachkala - Ministry
“We are here to strengthen good and constructive interaction with Russia with a focus on safeguarding peace. We are proud that we managed to turn threats into opportunities during the sanctions period,” Captain Sheidayee told Sputnik Persian.

Interviewed by Sputnik, Russian and Iranian military experts agreed that the Caspian Sea would be the main area of naval cooperation between Russia and Iran.

Vladislav Shurygin, deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zavtra, said that this cooperation could be at least two-pronged to include joint naval drills in the Caspian and friendly visits to each other’s ports.

“Because Russia and Iran are Caspian nations we are bound to work together. Our countries have no territorial claims to each other, no conflict zones, therefore we can ensure peace and security in the Caspian region,” Shurygin said.

He added that Russia and Iran could hold joint naval drills, protect Caspian bio resources and maintain humanitarian contacts.

“Also, because we have no conflict zones between us, we have our naval ships making regular visit to each other’s ports,” Shurygin noted.

Mahmoud Shoori, director of Iran’s Eurasian Cooperation Council, said that close cooperation between Iranian and Russian Navies could be a guarantor of peace, stability and security on the Caspian Sea.

“Iran and Russia have a history of successful cooperation in the Caspian with joint naval exercises and friendly calls at each other’s ports. The Iranian and Russian Navies are the strongest on the Caspian Sea and this is also a major deterrent against outside threats and regional tensions,” Mahmoud Shoori said.

He added that such naval cooperation would make Iran and Russia guarantors of peace, stability and security in the region and would safeguard against any outside aggression.

“Our cooperation could be very efficient and constructive because we have a history of successful joint naval drills, bilateral exchanges and personnel training,” Mahmoud Shoori emphasized.

A flotilla of Iranian ships arrived on an unofficial visit at the Russian port city of Makhachkala on the Caspian Sea on March 9.

This was the third visit of the Iranian Navy to the Russian naval bases since 2013. In June 2013 and October 2015, Iranian naval ships visited the port of Astrakhan.

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (L), commander of the Iranian navy, stands under portraits of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini (L) during a press conference at the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus on February 28, 2011 - Sputnik International
Iran to Hold Joint Navy Drills With Russia - Iranian Naval Commander
The two countries stepped up their military cooperation in 2015 after Iran reached a deal with six world powers to scale back its nuclear research in exchange for an easing of sanctions against it.

The agreement resulted in a partial lifting of the UN arms embargo, allowing weapons to be sold to the Islamic Republic, provided they are reviewed by the United Nations on a case-by-case basis.

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