For the first time, Chinese warships docked in an Iranian port Saturday as Beijing and Tehran prepared to conduct a series of joint naval drills.
“Discussing and studying the two countries’ naval relief and rescue operations and drills, confronting sea incidents and accidents, and gaining the necessary technical preparedness, are among the actions to be practiced with the Chinese army forces,” the commander of Iran’s First Naval Zone, Admiral Amir Hossein Azad, said on Saturday, according to the semi-official news agency Fars.
“The voyage of the Chinese army’s fleet of warships for the first time in the Persian Gulf waters is aimed at joint preparation of Iran and China for establishing peace, stability, tranquility and multilateral and mutual cooperation,” he added.
The arrival of the Chinese ships came a few days after the Iranian Navy thwarted a pirate attack on a Chinese container ship in the Gulf of Aden, according to the report.
The Chinese carrier was reportedly en route from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and continued on its journey after the thwarted attack.
The Iranian Navy has been in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, since November 2008 to conduct anti-piracy patrols and “to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.”
That year, Somali pirates attacked an Iranian-chartered cargo ship off the coast of Yemen.
The navy fleet has escorted 670 military and cargo ships since then, Fars reported.
Last year, Iranian ships were in the Sea of China “to deliver Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the Chinese,” Fars reported.