TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The joint naval drills of Iran, Russia and China in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman were aimed at countering US influence in the region, an American political analyst said.

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“The three countries appear to have as their primary objectives the protection of the security of these routes, and countering the influence of the US in the region,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, told Press Shia Agency in an interview.

Keith Preston was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States. He received degrees in Religious Studies, History, and Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard and the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.Com. He has also been a contributor to LewRockwell.Com, Antiwar.Com, Anti-State.Com,Taki’s Magazine, Radix Journal, and AlternativeRight.Com . He is the author of six books, and was awarded the 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize by the United Kingdom’s Libertarian Alliance. Keith has been a featured speaker at conferences of the National Policy Institute, H. L. Mencken Club, and Anarchapulco. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs and internet broadcasts, and appeared as a guest analyst on Russia Today, Press TV and the BBC.

The following is the full text of the interview.

Press Shia Agency: On Friday, Iran, Russia and China started four days of joint maritime exercise, dubbed the “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. What is your take on the joint naval drill?

Preston: The fact that Iran, Russia, and China are engaged in joint naval drills indicates that the leadership of each of these nations perceives potential threats that warrant their cooperation. The tensions that have taken place in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz during the past year indicate a certain degree of instability in the region. Of course, the sea lanes that are present in the region are essential to international commerce, including the trade in petroleum. Iran, Russia, and China each have a vested interest in maintaining the security of the region, particularly after the attacks on oil tankers that occurred some months ago. Each of the three nations is clearly concerned about the United States’ role in the region as well, which they consider to be overly belligerent in a way that threatens the stability and security of the region’s seal lanes and naval transportation routes. The three countries appear to have as their primary objectives the protection of the security of these routes, and countering the influence of the US in the region.

Press Shia Agency: In a post on his Twitter account on Friday night, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi published a photo of the logo of the naval drills and said, “The fact is that in the current transitional era, not everything happens in, nor by the West. We are truly living in a #Post_Western_world in which all global players have their share in its reality”. What are your thoughts on a post-western world?

Preston: I suspect that claims of a post-Western world are somewhat premature in the sense that Western powers continue to maintain the ability to exercise hegemony over much of the world. While Russia is a formidable military power on the Eurasian landmass, and possesses a sizable nuclear arsenal, it is also true that Russia has less than half the population of the United States, and less than half the population of the European Union. Additionally, Russia’s Gross Domestic Product measures that of South Korea. Russia is a long way from being able to compete with the West on an even footing. At present, China has approximately one half the GDP of the United States, even with four times the population. The United States maintains a network of hundreds of military bases across the world while Russia has no international bases outside of Syria and the CIS states, and, outside of the mainland, China only has a formal military presence on one base in East Africa. Both Russia and China have demonstrated impressive economic development in recent decades, and China’s efforts to engage in the development of Africa are quite significant as well. Iran has successfully forged a coalition of forces in the Middle East that are in resistance to Western hegemony. Certainly, an alliance between Russia, China, and Iran (and, by extension, between the BRICS and the Axis of Resistance) would be formidable. However, it is still premature to suggest that this alliance will be able to successfully challenge Western hegemony. It is likely that a more multipolar world order will evolve in the future, however, as the rift between the United States and the European Union potentially widens, and as the United States’ repeated imperial expeditions around the world continue to produce failure.

Press Shia Agency: “The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity … and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” according to Iranian flotilla chief Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani. How much do you think such drills can help improve security in the region?

Preston: The principal security threats that exist in the region at present are the ongoing efforts by the United States to destabilize nations that refuse to be incorporated into the global system of American hegemony, acts of aggression carried out by Saudi Arabia and the (Persian) Gulf States and terrorist activity sponsored by these regimes, ongoing Israeli expansionism and aggression by Israel against surrounding countries, and terrorist insurgences that are often supported, at least tacitly, by the West. The recent incursions into Syria by Turkey are also a cause for concern. A greater level of cooperation by Russia, China, Iran, and by the forces represented by the BRICS and the Axis of Resistance, may serve as a deterrent to acts of aggression carried out by parties within the Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis in a way that increases the level of stability and security in the region. However, there is also a greater risk for potential confrontation between the Western and Eastern powers as well.  

Press Shia Agency: In your perspective, what has prompted the three countries to form a triangle of sea power and hold the drills?

Preston: A convergence of interests has taken place where Russia, China, and Iran each regard the maintenance of the stability and security of the region as being in their individual and collective interests. Each of these nations is dependent on the security of the sea lands and naval transportation routes in the region in relation to the economies of these nations, as well as their defensive and national security needs. Clearly, the Western presence in the region, in collusion with Israel and the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, has been highly disruptive, and counter to the economic and military needs of the leading Eastern powers.