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MIDEAST >Russia, Iran to hold drill in Caspian Sea

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Russia, Iran plan to conduct a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea.

Russia, Iran plan to conduct a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea.

Russia and Iran are planning to conduct a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea in the second half of 2013, a top Russian Navy commander said according to RIA Novosti.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla Nikolai Yakubovsky announced the news after a meeting on June 28 with the commander of Iran’s naval fleet that has been dispatched to the Russian port city of Astrakhan, RIA Novosti reported.

Earlier in the week, the Iranian Navy’s deputy commander for operations, Admiral Siavash Jareh, said of the port call, “Given that the Caspian Sea is known as a sea of peace and tranquility, conveying the message of peace and friendship to countries bordering this sea, particularly the country of Russia, and displaying the naval might of the Navy and increasing the knowledge and experience of its young members are other purposes of the dispatch of the fleet of warships to Russia,” according to a report.

Russia and Syria are the two main allies of the Syrian regime and support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Syrian rebels in the country’s ongoing civil war.

The move came as the project to carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe in the Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline (TAP) through Turkey and Greece was officially confirmed, marking a possible economic game-changer in the region.

The joint naval exercise will be the third drill that the two countries have held together. The first one took place in December 2012 and the second in April 2013. Iran and Russia also held a joint naval drill in the Caspian Sea back in 2009.

During the Iranian naval fleet’s stay at Astrakhan Port, the Iranian naval officers will visit some military and port facilities in Russia and hold meetings with a number of high-ranking Russian commanders and officials.

June/30/2013

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