TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country’s ongoing joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman show its “broader commitment to secure vital waterways”.

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“Iran has long stated its readiness to work w/our neighbors to secure Persian Gulf. #HOPE-Hormuz Peace Endeavour-is on table right now. Our joint military drills in Oman Sea/Indian Ocean w/ our Russian & Chinese partners make clear our broader commitment to secure vital waterways,” Zarif tweeted late Friday.

His tweet came on the same day that Iran, Russia and China started four days of joint maritime exercise, dubbed “Marine Security Belt”, in an area of 17,000 square kilometers which consist of “various tactical exercises”, such as target practicing and rescuing ships from assault and incidents such as fires.

On Wednesday, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, said the event is meant to promote the security of international trade in the strategic regions, adding that sharing experience in maritime rescue operations was also to be pursued in the maneuvers.

The war game comes amid US efforts to woo countries into a maritime coalition for patrols in the Persian Gulf, which have received lukewarm welcome from its allies.