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Iran Calls for Coalition with States in Region Only

TEHRAN – Iran has called for a coalition that is limited to regional countries, but is also expected to improve military ties with Russia and China, two foreign forces that condemn US-led attempts to isolate the Islamic Republic.
Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, met Foreign Minister, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, of Oman in Tehran on Monday, one of the Arab members of the Iranian Gulf Cooperation Council tried to join a cross-strait HOPE Coalition or Hormuz Peace Endeavor.
The senior Iranian official blamed the US for trying to form a competing alliance to control the Hormuz Strait and claimed that Iran’s own plan in the Persian Gulf would not include any foreign powers.
“The countries that have had the greatest share in generating instability and uncertainty in the area and plunged the region into chaos and destruction by fighting multiple wars and spreading terrorism have never been after thestability and security of the Persian Gulf, they are trying only to serve their own interests and loot the region,” Shamkhani said.
Nevertheless, at the same time, Tehran has tried to improve its reputation on the world stage by holding joint naval drills elsewhere in neighbouring waters with two of Washington’s biggest competitors, Moscow and Beijing. While the exact circumstances surrounding the prospective exercises remain uncertain, new details have been revealed.
Speaking at a naval exhibition on Saturday, Iranian navy chief Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi reported that his forces are still planning to join Russian and Chinese maritime powers in the works for months. He added that “the aim of such an exercise is to secure collective security and assist in securing the Indian Ocean’s northern region, which is currently witnessing certain incidents such as maritime piracy.”
Days earlier, he told the semi official Mehr News Agency that the exercise would be carried out “hopefully” in December and that a “joint wargame between several countries, whether on land, at sea or in the air, suggests a remarkable expansion of cooperation between them.” The message, he said, was “that these three countries have reached a significant strategic point in their relationship.”
Khanzadi first explored with Russia the possibility of such education in July, but for months there was no confirmation from Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov finally revealed last month that “we, the People’s Republic of China and Iran are planning naval drills in this part of the Indian Ocean to fight terrorists and pirates,” but China has remained quiet to date since its name was later added to the bill.
Russia and China both have strategic interests in dealing with Iran, with the former participating in the ongoing civil war with Tehran in Syria, and the latter seeking to expand oil imports in violation of US sanctions.
Nonetheless, neither was pursuing a direct confrontation in the Persian Gulf, and both were not trying shored up ties with Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia.
While frequent reports have emerged from Iran-Saudi backchannels, Riyadh has yet to react officially to the HOPE invitation Coalition and entered the US-led International Maritime Security Project, supported by Australia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, prior to the announcement of this initiative.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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