TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Navy commander said the majority of member states of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) agree on the formation of a joint military coalition.

In comments on Tuesday, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi pointed to his bilateral meetings with the foreign military officials attending the IONS 2018 in Tehran, saying most of the member states are in favor of the idea of establishing a joint military coalition of IONS.

The idea will be put forward in a forthcoming meeting of commanders, and will be carried out if agreed upon, the Iranian admiral added.

Rear Admiral Khanzadi has held several meetings on the sidelines of the conference in Tehran since Monday, including those with delegations from Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, India, South Africa, Russia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Japan.

As regards the main topics discussed in the meetings, the Navy chief said Tehran is eager to broaden naval cooperation with the other countries, exchange Navy cadets for training courses, and hold joint naval exercises.

He further announced plans for a joint naval rescue and relief drill between Iran’s Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman on May 7 and 8.

The Iranian commander went on to say that the IONS welcomes other states, except the US, stressing that Iran and many other countries are opposed to US's accession to the symposium.

The IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.

The 2018 event, attended by high-ranking delegations from 35 countries, began on Monday morning with an opening speech by Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri.

Iran officially assumed presidency of the symposium for two years with the launch of the event.