MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Tehran expects to hold joint naval drills with Russia this year and preparations for the maneuvers will begin soon, Iranian Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Monday.
"Earlier, we signed an agreement [on joint exercises] with Russia’s Armed Forces and the Russian Fleet’s command. Soon the preparations and maneuvers’ planning will start and they will be carried out this year," Khanzadi was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying. He gave no details about the area where the drills would be held.
According to the commander, "the situation in the Persian Gulf is absolutely calm," despite the fact that "the United States and the United Kingdom by their lies and bluff are trying to make this region look as unsafe and make it so."
In late July, the Iranian Navy commander paid a visit to Russia. He told the IRNA news agency that Russian-Iranian drills could soon be held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, including in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tensions mounted in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz after July 19, when Iran seized the Stena Impero oil tanker flying the British flag. According to Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the tanker was detained for violating international rules.
On August 4, Iran seized another foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf for allegedly smuggling fuel to some Arab states. The vessel, carrying 700,000 liters of fuel, turned out to be an Iraqi tanker. The Iranian Transport Ministry has denied the report on the vessel’s origin.